Intentional systems theory is in the first place an analysis of the meanings of such everyday ‘mentalistic’ terms as ‘believe’, ‘desire’, ‘expect’, ‘decide’, and ‘intend’: the terms of ‘folk psychology’ that we use to interpret, explain, and predict the behaviour of other human beings, animals, some artefacts such as robots and computers, and indeed ourselves. In traditional parlance we seem to be attributing minds to the things we thus interpret, and this raises a host of questions about the conditions under which a thing can be truly said to have a mind, or to have beliefs, desires, and other ‘mental’ states. According to intentional systems theory, these questions can best be answered by analysing the logical presuppositions and methods of our attribution practices, when we adopt the intentional stance toward something.
Keywords: intentional systems theory; folk psychology; mentalistic terms; human behaviour; mental states; intentional stance
Article. 5659 words.
Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind
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