A pioneering work in the philosophy of mind, Content and Consciousness brings together the approaches of philosophers and scientists to the mind--a connection that must occur if genuine analysis of the mind is to be made. This unified approach permits the most forbiddingly mysterious mental phenomenon--consciousness--to be broken down into several distinct phenomena, and these are each given a foundation in the physical activity of the brain. This paperback edition contains a preface placing the book in the context of recent (...) work in the area. (shrink)
Daniel C. Dennett is a brilliant polemicist, famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies. Over the last thirty years, he has played a major role in expanding our understanding of consciousness, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory. And with such groundbreaking, critically acclaimed books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist), he has reached a huge general and professional audience. In this new book, Dennett shows that evolution is the key to resolving the ancient problems (...) of moral and political freedom. Like the planet's atmosphere on which life depends, the conditions on which our freedom depends had to evolve, and like the atmosphere, they continue to evolve-and could be extinguished. According to Dennett, biology provides the perspective from which we can distinguish the varieties of freedom that matter. Throughout the history of life on this planet, an interacting web and internal and external conditions have provided the frameworks for the design of agents that are more free than their parts-from the unwitting gropings of the simplest life forms to the more informed activities of animals to the moral dilemmas that confront human beings living in societies. As in his previous books, Dennett weaves a richly detailed narrative enlivened by analogies as entertaining as they are challenging. Here is the story of how we came to be different from all other creatures, how our early ancestors mindlessly created human culture, and then, how culture gave us our minds, our visions, our moral problems-in a nutshell, our freedom. (shrink)
Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks,watching The Simpsons? In Inside Jokes, Matthew Hurley, DanielDennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective.
Essays from some of the 20th century's greatest thinkers explore topics as diverse as artificial intelligence, evolution, science fiction, philosophy, reductionism, and consciousness, presenting a variety of conflicting visions of the self and the soul. Illustrations.
Some things are funny -- jokes, puns, sitcoms, Charlie Chaplin, The Far Side, Malvolio with his yellow garters crossed -- but why? Why does humor exist in the first place? Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks, watching _The Simpsons_? In _Inside Jokes_, Matthew Hurley, Daniel Dennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective. Humor, they propose, evolved out of a computational problem that arose when our long-ago ancestors were furnished (...) with open-ended thinking. Mother Nature -- aka natural selection -- cannot just order the brain to find and fix all our time-pressured misleaps and near-misses. She has to bribe the brain with pleasure. So we find them funny. This wired-in source of pleasure has been tickled relentlessly by humorists over the centuries, and we have become addicted to the endogenous mind candy that is humor. (shrink)
An enlightening discussion that will motivate students to think critically, the book opens with Plantinga's assertion that Christianity is compatible with evolutionary theory because Christians believe that God created the living world, and it is entirely possible that God did so by using a process of evolution.