Fred Dretske

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Fred Dretske

Frederick Irwin Dretske (born December 9, 1932 in Waukegan , Illinois , † July 24, 2013 ) was an American philosopher who taught at Duke University in North Carolina . His main areas of work are epistemology and the philosophy of mind .

Dretske was particularly known for his analysis of the concept of information . Among other things, this analysis should enable a reductive explanation of the intentional content of mental states. The attempt to grasp intentionality reductively is part of Dretske's general program of “naturalizing the mind”. The aim of this program is to describe the mind as an unproblematic biological phenomenon. In order to achieve this goal, not only the intentionality has to be explained. An explanation for experience content ( qualia ) and self-confidence is also necessary. Dretske believed that he could provide such explanations using the concept of representation .


In 1994 he was awarded the Jean Nicod Prize . In 2003 Dretske was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . For 2014 he was posthumously awarded the Lauener Prize .


  • Seeing and Knowing, Routledge, (1969)
  • Knowledge and the Flow of Information, Bradford Books (1981)
  • Explaining Behavior, MIT Press (1991)
  • Naturalizing The Mind, Bradford Book, (1997)
  • Perception, Knowledge and Belief, Cambridge University Press, (2000)

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