Teleological markers: Seven lines of hypotheses around Dennett's theory of habits

Luis E. Echarte



Neuroscientists frequently use two folk psychology terms –self and consciousness– in formulating decision-making process models. According to Daniel Dennett, such notions lead them to dualistic view of brain functions and hence to dead ends or, at least, to less than optimal designs in the research field. Indeed, Dennett’s position offers interesting insights that may help neuroscientists to comprehend the distinction between conscious and non-conscious behavior. In this paper, I first explore how habitual behavior could be defined from Dennett’s model. Second, taking his view into account, I try to offer a better interpretation of habits. Particularly, I define habits as involving a teleological and preconscious process whose traits and dynamics are indistinguishable from computational ones, but this is so more in their ends than in their origins. Finally, I propose seven lines of experimental hypothesis to support this definition.


Habits; intentionality; intention; Intentional Stance Theory; consciousness; self; free will; voluntary control; agency; decision-making

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