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Reading: Dennett’s Intentional Strategy Applied to Animals


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Dennett’s Intentional Strategy Applied to Animals


Melanie Stankus

Central Washington University, US
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Daniel Dennett lays out what he calls the intentional strategy (or stance) and the intentional system, which proposes that we could predict the behavior of humans, non-human animals, plants or in other words, what he calls an intentional system. Roughly speaking, the intentional strategy involves attributing beliefs and desires, that a reason using object ought to have given the circumstances, to an object; with those beliefs and desires, one should be able to predict the object’s behavior. Though my goal is not to criticize Dennett’s view, I will argue that the intentional strategy works better on non-human animals than humans; a mere observation of an application of the intentional strategy. Once I have shown that the intentional strategy seems to work better on non-human animals than humans, I will argue that it is because it is in the nature of animals to make survival their highest desire and then form beliefs to secure this desire. Humans, on the other hand, form beliefs about the world, and these beliefs form their desires; they are not simply seeking survival.

How to Cite: Stankus, M., 2015. Dennett’s Intentional Strategy Applied to Animals. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 7(2), pp.5 (29–35). DOI:
Published on 29 May 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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