Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Evolution and the Meaning of Life
Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1439126291
Category: Science
Page: 592
View: 1659
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In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Evolution and the Meanins of Life
Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 068482471X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 586
View: 5018
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Offers a wider perspective on Darwin's scientific theory of natural selection, explaining how it extends beyond biology, analyzing current controversies over the origins of life and inherent biases, and challenging popular philosophies

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Evolution and the Meanings of Life
Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141949252
Category: Science
Page: 592
View: 5137
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This work assesses Darwin's theory of evolution and looks at why it arises such heated debate among scientists, philosophers and sociologists. The book aims to show that Darwinism does not devalue the miracles of life.

Breaking the Spell

Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101218860
Category: Religion
Page: 464
View: 4428
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For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why—and how—it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.

Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking


Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393348784
Category: Philosophy
Page: 512
View: 6425
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The philosophy professor behind Breaking the Spell and Consciousness Explained offers exercises and tools to stretch the mind, offering new ways to consider, discuss and argue positions on dangerous subject matter including evolution, the meaning of life and free will.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds


Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393242080
Category: Philosophy
Page: 448
View: 6392
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“[The] best scientific-philosophical approach to understanding how consciousness evolved.… A wonderful book that will shape and drive thinking for years to come.”—Shane O’Mara, Times Higher Education How did we come to have minds? For centuries, poets, philosophers, psychologists, and physicists have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled abilities. Disciples of Darwin have explained how natural selection produced plants, but what about the human mind? In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel C. Dennett builds on recent discoveries from biology and computer science to show, step by step, how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. A crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Competition among memes produced thinking tools powerful enough that our minds don’t just perceive and react, they create and comprehend. An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and scientists, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain all those curious about how the mind works.

Freedom Evolves


Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101572663
Category: Philosophy
Page: 368
View: 306
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Can there be freedom and free will in a deterministic world? Renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett emphatically answers “yes!” Using an array of provocative formulations, Dennett sets out to show how we alone among the animals have evolved minds that give us free will and morality. Weaving a richly detailed narrative, Dennett explains in a series of strikingly original arguments—drawing upon evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, economics, and philosophy—that far from being an enemy of traditional explorations of freedom, morality, and meaning, the evolutionary perspective can be an indispensable ally. In Freedom Evolves, Dennett seeks to place ethics on the foundation it deserves: a realistic, naturalistic, potentially unified vision of our place in nature.

Consciousness Explained


Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316439487
Category: Psychology
Page: 528
View: 5325
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"Brilliant...as audacious as its title....Mr. Dennett's exposition is nothing short of brilliant." --George Johnson, New York Times Book Review Consciousness Explained is a a full-scale exploration of human consciousness. In this landmark book, Daniel Dennett refutes the traditional, commonsense theory of consciousness and presents a new model, based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories about conscious life-of people, animal, even robots--are transformed by the new perspectives found in this book.

Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life

How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew
Author: Steve Stewart-Williams
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139490990
Category: Science
Page: N.A
View: 2524
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If you accept evolutionary theory, can you also believe in God? Are human beings superior to other animals, or is this just a human prejudice? Does Darwin have implications for heated issues like euthanasia and animal rights? Does evolution tell us the purpose of life, or does it imply that life has no ultimate purpose? Does evolution tell us what is morally right and wrong, or does it imply that ultimately 'nothing' is right or wrong? In this fascinating and intriguing book, Steve Stewart-Williams addresses these and other fundamental philosophical questions raised by evolutionary theory and the exciting new field of evolutionary psychology. Drawing on biology, psychology and philosophy, he argues that Darwinian science supports a view of a godless universe devoid of ultimate purpose or moral structure, but that we can still live a good life and a happy life within the confines of this view.

Brainstorms

Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology
Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026253438X
Category: Philosophy
Page: 440
View: 5462
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Intentional explanation and attributions of mentality -- International systems -- Reply to Arbib and Gunderson -- Brain writing and mind reading -- The nature of theory in psychology -- Skinner skinned -- Why the law of effect will not go away -- A cure for the common code? -- Artificial intelligence as philosophy and as psychology -- Objects of consciousness and the nature of experience -- Are dreams experiences? -- Toward a cognitive theory of consciousness -- Two approaches to mental images -- Why you can't make a computer that feels pain -- Free will and personhood -- Mechanism and responsibility -- The abilities of men and machines -- Conditions of personhood -- On giving libertarians what they say they want -- How to change your mind -- Where am I?

Sweet Dreams

Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness
Author: Daniel Clement Dennett
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262042253
Category: Philosophy
Page: 199
View: 4085
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The author of Consciousness Explained revises and renews his Multiple Drafts Model of consciousness in the light of recent research.

Brainchildren

Essays on Designing Minds
Author: Daniel Clement Dennett
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262540902
Category: Philosophy
Page: 418
View: 423
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"Brainchildren" is a new collection of wide-ranging essays from one of cognitive science's most distinguished figures. This book brings together Dennett's essays on the philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence, and cognitive ethology that appeared in inaccessible journals from 1984 to 1996. Collected in a single volume, these compelling essays are now available to a wider audience.

Caught in the Pulpit

Leaving Belief Behind
Author: Daniel C. Dennett,Linda LaScola
Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing (US&CA)
ISBN: 1634310225
Category: Religion
Page: 280
View: 1462
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What is it like to be a preacher or rabbi who no longer believes in God? In this expanded and updated edition of their groundbreaking study, Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola comprehensively and sensitively expose an inconvenient truth that religious institutions face in the new transparency of the information age—the phenomenon of clergy who no longer believe what they publicly preach. In confidential interviews, clergy from across the ministerial spectrum—from liberal to literal—reveal how their lives of religious service and study have led them to a truth inimical to their professed beliefs and profession. Although their personal stories are as varied as the denominations they once represented, or continue to represent—whether Catholic, Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal, or any of numerous others—they give voice not only to their own struggles but also to those who similarly suffer in tender and lonely silence. As this study poignantly and vividly reveals, their common journey has far-reaching implications not only for their families, their congregations, and their communities—but also for the very future of religion.

River Out of Eden

A Darwinian View of Life
Author: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780786724260
Category: Science
Page: 192
View: 4680
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How did the replication bomb we call ”life” begin and where in the world, or rather, in the universe, is it heading? Writing with characteristic wit and an ability to clarify complex phenomena (the New York Times described his style as ”the sort of science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius”), Richard Dawkins confronts this ancient mystery.

Elbow Room

The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting
Author: Daniel C. Dennett
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262332043
Category: Philosophy
Page: 248
View: 3741
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In this landmark 1984 work on free will, Daniel Dennett makes a case for compatibilism. His aim, as he writes in the preface to this new edition, was a cleanup job, "saving everything that mattered about the everyday concept of free will, while jettisoning the impediments." In Elbow Room, Dennett argues that the varieties of free will worth wanting -- those that underwrite moral and artistic responsibility -- are not threatened by advances in science but distinguished, explained, and justified in detail.Dennett tackles the question of free will in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of fields that range from physics and evolutionary biology to engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence. He shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the "family of anxieties" in which they are often enmeshed -- imaginary agents and bogeymen, including the Peremptory Puppeteer, the Nefarious Neurosurgeon, and the Cosmic Child Whose Dolls We Are. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, he concludes that we can have free will and science too. He explores reason, control and self-control, the meaning of "can" and "could have done otherwise," responsibility and punishment, and why we would want free will in the first place. A fresh reading of Dennett's book shows how much it can still contribute to current discussions of free will. This edition includes as its afterword Dennett's 2012 Erasmus Prize essay.

Darwin's Cathedral

Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society
Author: David Sloan Wilson
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226901378
Category: Science
Page: 268
View: 6563
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One of the great intellectual battles of modern times is between evolution and religion. Until now, they have been considered completely irreconcilable theories of origin and existence. David Sloan Wilson's Darwin's Cathedral takes the radical step of joining the two, in the process proposing an evolutionary theory of religion that shakes both evolutionary biology and social theory at their foundations. The key, argues Wilson, is to think of society as an organism, an old idea that has received new life based on recent developments in evolutionary biology. If society is an organism, can we then think of morality and religion as biologically and culturally evolved adaptations that enable human groups to function as single units rather than mere collections of individuals? Wilson brings a variety of evidence to bear on this question, from both the biological and social sciences. From Calvinism in sixteenth-century Geneva to Balinese water temples, from hunter-gatherer societies to urban America, Wilson demonstrates how religions have enabled people to achieve by collective action what they never could do alone. He also includes a chapter considering forgiveness from an evolutionary perspective and concludes by discussing how all social organizations, including science, could benefit by incorporating elements of religion. Religious believers often compare their communities to single organisms and even to insect colonies. Astoundingly, Wilson shows that they might be literally correct. Intended for any educated reader, Darwin's Cathedral will change forever the way we view the relations among evolution, religion, and human society.

Darwinian Reductionism

Or, How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology
Author: Alexander Rosenberg
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226727319
Category: Science
Page: 272
View: 3297
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After the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists working in molecular biology embraced reductionism—the theory that all complex systems can be understood in terms of their components. Reductionism, however, has been widely resisted by both nonmolecular biologists and scientists working outside the field of biology. Many of these antireductionists, nevertheless, embrace the notion of physicalism—the idea that all biological processes are physical in nature. How, Alexander Rosenberg asks, can these self-proclaimed physicalists also be antireductionists? With clarity and wit, Darwinian Reductionism navigates this difficult and seemingly intractable dualism with convincing analysis and timely evidence. In the spirit of the few distinguished biologists who accept reductionism—E. O. Wilson, Francis Crick, Jacques Monod, James Watson, and Richard Dawkins—Rosenberg provides a philosophically sophisticated defense of reductionism and applies it to molecular developmental biology and the theory of natural selection, ultimately proving that the physicalist must also be a reductionist.

What Is Your Dangerous Idea?

Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable
Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061844802
Category: Science
Page: 336
View: 7080
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The world's leading scientific thinkers explore bold, remarkable, perilous ideas that could change our lives—for better . . . or for worse . . . From Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true. What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum Edge (www.edge.org), the call went out, and this compelling and easily digestible volume collects the answers. From using medication to permanently alter our personalities to contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone, to the idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable, What Is Your Dangerous Idea? takes an unflinching look at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it. Contributors include Daniel C. Dennett • Jared Diamond • Brian Greene • Matt Ridley • Howard Gardner and Freeman Dyson, among others

Selections from Darwin's The Origin of Species

The Shape of the Argument
Author: Charles Darwin,Nicholas Maistrellis
Publisher: Green Cat Books
ISBN: 9781888009347
Category: Science
Page: 114
View: 362
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The present edition contains selections from Darwin's Origin of Species that attempt to present the principal lines of argument, without becoming bogged down in details. It also includes notes and other remarks designed to help readers focus on what is essential in Darwin's argument for his theory of the development of living things.

Being There

Putting Brain, Body, and World Together Again
Author: Andy Clark
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262260527
Category: Psychology
Page: 292
View: 8041
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Brain, body, and world are united in a complex dance of circular causation and extended computational activity. In Being There, Andy Clark weaves these several threads into a pleasing whole and goes on to address foundational questions concerning the new tools and techniques needed to make sense of the emerging sciences of the embodied mind. Clark brings together ideas and techniques from robotics, neuroscience, infant psychology, and artificial intelligence. He addresses a broad range of adaptive behaviors, from cockroach locomotion to the role of linguistic artifacts in higher-level thought.