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In the Long Cool Hour

Amia Srinivasan: Pragmatic Naturalism, 6 December 2012

The Ethical Project 
by Philip Kitcher.
Harvard, 422 pp., £36.95, November 2011, 978 0 674 06144 6
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... with quirks that reflect its evolutionary history and its neurobiological foundations.’ Thus Daniel Dennett feels able to claim that Darwinism is a ‘universal acid’ that ‘eats through just about every concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionised worldview’. Some neuro-evo evangelists, especially those writing for a mass audience, take ...

Real Naturalism

Galen Strawson, 26 September 2013

... we’re supposing to be an illusion – can’t exist unless there really is experience. Daniel Dennett tries this move. He proposes that ‘there is no such thing’ as phenomenology: ‘There seems to be phenomenology … but it does not follow from this undeniable, universally attested fact that there really is phenomenology.’ In fact it ...

Darwinian Soup

W.G. Runciman: The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore, 10 June 1999

The Meme Machine 
by Susan Blackmore.
Oxford, 264 pp., £18.99, March 1999, 0 19 850365 2
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... Nobody can deny that such transmission is happening every day. Why, then, should even those whom Daniel Dennett calls ‘Darwin-dreaders’ object to the adoption of a single word for whatever specific bundles of instructions affecting phenotype – whether encoded in gestures, speech, writing or any other medium – do in fact guide the behaviour of ...

Hofstadterismus

Andrew Hodges, 17 April 1986

Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern 
by Douglas Hofstadter.
Viking, 852 pp., £18.95, September 1985, 0 670 80687 0
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Ada: A Life and a Legacy 
by Dorothy Stein.
MIT, 321 pp., £17.50, January 1986, 9780262192422
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... us about mind and its ability to think about itself. He went on to co-edit with the philosopher Daniel Dennett an annotated anthology of essays, The Mind’s I. Meanwhile, between 1981 and 1983, he wrote a sequence of some twenty-five columns for Scientific American, adopting the heading of Metamagical Themas – an anagram of the formula ...

Severals

Ian Hacking, 11 June 1992

First Person Plural: Multiple Personality and the Philosophy of Mind 
by Stephen Braude.
Routledge, 283 pp., £35, October 1991, 0 415 03591 0
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... about the mind, the self, the very essence of a person. Braude is not the only one to think so. Daniel Dennett, whose major book was reviewed in these pages last November, has written about multiples, and has interviewed members of the movement at one of their conferences. Since he believes in a social model of the mind, with a lot of interacting parts ...

Why Pigs Don’t Have Wings

Jerry Fodor: The Case against Natural Selection, 18 October 2007

... nothing in biology makes sense without Darwinism, and he is widely paraphrased. The philosopher Daniel Dennett says that ‘in a single stroke, the idea of evolution by natural selection unifies the realm of life, meaning and purpose with the realm of space and time, cause and effect, mechanism and physical law.’ (Phew!) Richard Dawkins says, ‘If ...

It’s Been a Lot of Fun

David Runciman: Hitchens’s Hitchens, 24 June 2010

Hitch-22: A Memoir 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 435 pp., £20, June 2010, 978 1 84354 921 5
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... proselytising for atheism (which includes not just Hitchens but people like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett) is just another surrogate religion is a familiar one. It’s what the God-botherers always say about the God-bashers. But in the case of Christopher Hitchens it’s not entirely convincing. The blustering, obscene, insatiable, limitlessly ...

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