Tag Archives: the intentional stance

The self-hood stance

Let us expand upon the self-hood stance a bit and contrast it to Dennet’s Stances. From the all-knowing wiki

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  • The most concrete is the physical stance, which is the domain of physics and chemistry. At this level, we are concerned with such things as mass, energy, velocity, and chemical composition. When we predict where a ball is going to land based on its current trajectory, we are taking the physical stance. Another example of this stance comes when we look at a strip made up of two types of metal bonded together and predict how it will bend as the temperature changes, based on the physical properties of the two metals.
  • Somewhat more abstract is the design stance, which is the domain of biology and engineering. At this level, we are concerned with such things as purpose, function and design. When we predict that a bird will fly when it flaps its wings on the basis that wings are made for flying, we are taking the design stance. Likewise, we can understand the bimetallic strip as a particular type of thermometer, not concerning ourselves with the details of how this type of thermometer happens to work. We can also recognize the purpose that this thermometer serves inside a thermostat and even generalize to other kinds of thermostats that might use a different sort of thermometer. We can even explain the thermostat in terms of what it’s good for, saying that it keeps track of the temperature and turns on the heater whenever it gets below a minimum, turning it off once it reaches a maximum.
  • Most abstract is the intentional stance, which is the domain of software and minds. At this level, we are concerned with such things as belief, thinking and intent. When we predict that the bird will fly away because it knows the cat is coming and is afraid of getting eaten, we are taking the intentional stance. Another example would be when we predict that Mary will leave the theater and drive to the restaurant because she sees that the movie is over and is hungry.

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The self-hood stance nestles between the design and the intentional stances. It is a entity whose parts all seem designed at least somewhat for the preservation of that entity. So part of the entity is injured we might expect another part of it to repair it. When a part of an entity is running low on a resource to perform functions that help other bits of the entity we might expect that resource to be transferred from another part of an entity. Parts might clean other parts. The self is in general homoeostatic and is  what it make sense to consider preserved by autonomic systems.

We get surprised when bits of an entity don’t help out itself. When an ant’s brain and legs conspire to sacrifice it attacking a predator. At least until we make sense of it as part of a larger self, the gene’s that make it up.

Omohondro’s drives suggest that any AI will develop a self-hood.

Now it is late. I shall come back to this another day