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What is the rule for attributing beliefs to an intentional system using the intentional strategy?

Attribute beliefs that the system OUGHT to have starting with basic survival needs.


Which stances does Dennett propose that we use when predicting the behavior of different systems?

  • physical stance
  • design stance
  • intentional stance


According to Boden, what is intentional behavior?

Behavior that is guided by thought.


What kind of model does Boden use to provide a solution to the puzzle involving the boundaries of the malfunction not corresponding with anatomical boundaries?

An imaginary computerized robot


What is the physical stance?

Physical Stance attributes to predicting behavior of a system or organism based on its physical characteristics/properties/components/constitution. Examples of physical components include melting point, boiling point, color, shape, size, mass and shape. An example of a physical stance would be predicting that a laptop will overheat when exposed under direct sunlight due to its metallic composition. Another example would be predicting that a basketball will roll in some direction after it falls through the hoop.


What is the design stance?

Design stance is that once you know what something is designed to do, you can make accurate predictions about its behavior without knowing anything at all about its inner workings. Design stance is being able to predict behavior based on the design of the system. Example would be when muscles are working hard, we are unsurprised to learn that the lungs will also start taking in more oxygen to “help” them.

More examples:

The heart was “designed” to pump blood; the kidney is a filter; the “purpose” of the lungs is delivery of oxygen to working muscles, so they can do their “job” of contracting to “help” us move. We predict that these organs will in most cases act in accordance with these purposes.


Explain the steps involved in taking the Intentional Stance.

The intentional stance involves four steps. The first step is to treat the system or the organism as if it had perfect rationality which can be revised as needed. This means we assume the system/organism is the most rational and we revise that assumption as needed based on observing their beliefs, goals, and choices later on. The second step is to find out what beliefs the system/organism ought to have or should have based on its location and purpose. This may involve considering beliefs that may be significant to its interests or desires from its experience. The third step is to figure out what desires the system ought to have or should have. This is referring to most basic desires such as survival, pain, food, comfort, procreation, etc. The last step is to predict how the rational agent will act to further its goals, given its beliefs. This is to predict what the system/organism will do next to obtain its goals based on their beliefs. 


Why does Dennett think that the intentional stance works?

Dennett thinks that the intentional stance works because it provides an explanation to how the machinery of our mind works. Dennett thinks that this can give us an idea of what the structure of the mind actually is based on a system’s behavior, given its beliefs and desires. This stance lines up with how the mind works because of this provided description. It works because the mind is computational.


Why is it important that we first attribute rationality to an organism before predicting its behavior from the intentional stance? What assumption about the mind supports doing this?

If we don’t attribute rationality, then we can’t make the prediction on what the system OUGHT to believe and OUGHT to do. Rationality secures the OUGHT in the belief and the desire. If we don’t assume the system is not rational, we can’t make any predictions. We won’t have any predictive power. 

It is important to attribute rationality to an organism because no organism can behave the way it does without some program or rationality that it follows. We cannot say that an organism is irrational when it behaves explicitly. There must be a purpose to why an organism/system behaves the way it does.  

If we assume that the mind is computational, then we get a clear picture of intentional strategy. If we think of the world as having mental representations, then semantic features and computational states transition into algorithms and so our mind operates computationally like a computer. 

Beliefs are mental states that have content about the world or mental representations that function rationally according to rational rules. The assumption that the mind is computational supports this attribution of rationality since beliefs function computationally.


What are examples of intentional mental states?

Examples of intentional mental states have to be about something, or about “something it is like to be” such as beliefs, thoughts and feelings, even sensations have to be “about something.” There has to be some sort of directionality when it comes to these mental states. There has to be a way to describe these states and also a reason to why these mental states come to be. Intentional mental states are, thus, closely tied to consciousness. 


 These states that are beliefs, desires, anything about the world.

Boden Reading

Why is it important to be able to give a physical description of intentional mental states?

It is important to give a physical description of mental states so that we can draw it back to the theory of physicalism. Having physical descriptions would be like assigning physical symbols to the object. This would further support the idea of the mind being computational, like that of a computer. A physical description will also help in validating the physicalism theory which will unite the sciences under one overarching theory. This would help us separate the mental and the physical. 


We need to talk about the mind in physical terms. We don’t want to confuse the language when scientists talk about a non-physical topic. Separating the mental from the physical. The purpose of giving a physical description is to separate the physical from the abstract. It helps preserve the unity of science. 


According to Boden, our descriptions of anatomical boundaries differ from actual physical boundaries because our concepts or beliefs pick out our body parts as "total units".  She says that this can be explained because our representations of our body parts are determined by several factors. What are those factors? In other words, what features make up our "idea" of where the boundary of our hand is?

The factors that Boden is referring to is the difference in language used to describe the same thing, as opposed to the ontological difference. This difference in language reflects the vague boundaries that we have in our minds about our physical body. The features that make up our idea of where the boundary of our hand lie in layman’s terms and not in the actual anatomical physicality of it. She uses internal modeling and information processing to make this distinction between language differences in describing the same phenomena (physical systems). With this, Boden highlights her claim that all psychological subjects are physical systems.. Since we can describe this phenomenon in different ways, it is clear that there is no simple explanation for these nerves and muscles phenomenon at the more specific level. However, this does bring up the distinction of a clear mental phenomenon which is separate from the physical. 


Concepts from the environment we are embedded in, comes from the language we are using. When we say “”hand”, we have a concept of what a hand looks like. We might have different concepts based on the country you live in or the language you use. These are the several factors.