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Personal and Sub-personal: A Defence of Dennett's Early Distinction

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Personal and Sub-personal: A Defence of Dennett's Early Distinction


Daniel Dennett introduced the term 'sub-personal' into philosophers' vocabulary thirty years ago. Dennett's uses of 'sub-personal' are of interest in connection with the development both of his own views and of the subject of philosophy of mind in the recent past. I have a particular reason for focusing on Dennett: his original distinction between personal and sub-personal levels of explanation is lost sight of in much recent work, with the result that a position that I should want to defend is lost sight of too. I shall present an argument designed to show that a satisfactory philosophy of mind must respect the distinction Dennett first made, and that this distinction is widely ignored nowadays. Even Dennett has deserted it, so that the position I want to defend is kept invisible. People lose sight of Dennett's personal/sub-personal distinction because they free it from its philosophical moorings. A distinction that serves a philosophical purpose is typically rooted in doctrine; it cannot be lifted out of context and continue to do its work. So I shall start from Dennett's distinction as I read it in its original context. And when I speak of 'the distinction', I mean to point not only towards the terms that Dennett first used to define it but also towards the philosophical setting within which its work was cut out.Article

Hornsby, Jennifer (2000) Personal and Sub-personal: A Defence of Dennett's Early Distinction.


Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: Philosophical Explorations (Special Issue): 6-24.
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Dennett, Sub-personal
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
Collections: London Philosophy Papers
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URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/822
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