Interventionism for the Intentional Stance: True Believers and Their Brains

Topoi 39 (1):45-55 (2020)
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The relationship between psychological states and the brain remains an unresolved issue in philosophy of psychology. One appealing solution that has been influential both in science and in philosophy is Dennett’s concept of the intentional stance, according to which beliefs and desires are real and objective phenomena, but not necessarily states of the brain. A fundamental shortcoming of this approach is that it does not seem to leave any causal role for beliefs and desires in influencing behavior. In this paper, I show that intentional states ascribed from the intentional stance should be seen as real causes, develop this to an independently plausible ontological position, and present a response to the latest interventionist causal exclusion worries.
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