I'm basically continuing this from comments that John Shutt and I exchanged on The Obligational Stance. He questions whether the stances are really in that order or even in that topology.
My answer (Repeating myself from a comment)
I'm not sure I have a compelling argument that the hierarchy is in that order, or in that topology. But my thinking, albeit somewhat loose, is "How could stance N+1 mean anything if the machinery for stance N wasn't already in place?", for each of the 3 cases.
In the case of N = intentional, how could an entity see obligations if it didn't have beliefs about the world?
Trying for a counterexample
Would (say) an ATM be a counterexample? As a machine, it naturally fits the design stance and does not naturally fit the intentional stance. Yet it's "obligated" to give you your money on demand, and generally does so.
But is it really seeing an obligation? ISTM no, not any more than it
has beliefs when it prints out in English "Your bank balance is X".
Its designers have the beliefs and see the obligations. The ATM is
competent to realize the designers' beliefs and obligations
schematically, but is not competent to treat them
qua beliefs and
obligations. For instance, it's not capable of improvising with them
or of extending them to new situations.
One can try to stretch the stances to cover it. It, like a thermostat, has tiny, rickety, mini-beliefs and mini-sees obligations in a tiny, rickety way. Can it mini-see obligations without having mini-beliefs? My intuition says no.