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Dennett's heterophenomenology

5 RichardKennaway 16 January 2010 08:40PM

In an earlier comment, I conflated heterophenomenology in the general sense of taking introspective accounts as data to be explained rather than direct readouts of the truth, with Dennett's particular approach to explaining those data.  So to correct myself, I say that it is Dennett, rather than heterophenomenology, that claims that there is no such thing as consciousness. Dennett denies that he does, but I disagree. I defend this view here.

I have to admit at this point that I have not read "Consciousness Explained".  Had either of the library's copies been on the shelves last Tuesday I would have done by now, but instead I found his later book (and his most recent on the topic), "Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness".  The subtitle suggests a drawing back from the confidence of the earlier title, as does that of the book in between.  The book confirms me in my impression that the ideas of "C.E." have been in the air so long (the air of hard SF, sciblogs, and the like, not to mention Phil Goetz's recent posts) that reading the primary source 19 years on would be nothing more than an exercise in checkbox-ticking.

I'll give a brief run-through of "Sweet Dreams" and then carry on the argument.

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