From Bacteria to Bach and Back  The Evolution of Minds Book
Score: 3.5
From 7 Ratings

From Bacteria to Bach and Back The Evolution of Minds


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company
  • Release Date : 2017-02-07
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 496
  • ISBN 10 : 9780393242089

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From Bacteria to Bach and Back The Evolution of Minds Excerpt :

"A supremely enjoyable, intoxicating work." —Nature 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.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back Book
Score: 3.5
From 5 Ratings

From Bacteria to Bach and Back


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : Penguin UK
  • Release Date : 2017-02-21
  • Genre: Psychology
  • Pages : 496
  • ISBN 10 : 9780141978055

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From Bacteria to Bach and Back Excerpt :

'Required reading for anyone remotely curious about how they came to be remotely curious' Observer 'Enthralling' Spectator What is human consciousness and how is it possible? These questions fascinate thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers. This is Daniel C. Dennett's brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains and human culture. Part philosophical whodunnit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett's career at the forefront of philosophical thought. In his inimitable style, laced with wit and thought experiments, Dennett shows how culture enables reflection by installing a profusion of thinking tools, or memes, in our brains, and how language turbocharges this process. The result: a mind that can comprehend the questions it poses, has emerged from a process of cultural evolution. An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back is essential for anyone who hopes to understand human creativity in all its applications.

From Bacteria to Bach and Back Book
Score: 3.5
From 5 Ratings

From Bacteria to Bach and Back


  • Author : Daniel C Dennett
  • Publisher : National Geographic Books
  • Release Date : 2018-02-20
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 0
  • ISBN 10 : 9780393355505

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From Bacteria to Bach and Back Excerpt :

"A supremely enjoyable, intoxicating work." —Nature 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.

Consciousness Explained Book
Score: 3.5
From 12 Ratings

Consciousness Explained


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : Little, Brown
  • Release Date : 2017-02-07
  • Genre: Psychology
  • Pages : 528
  • ISBN 10 : 9780316439480

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Consciousness Explained Excerpt :

"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.

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking Book
Score: 4
From 6 Ratings

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company
  • Release Date : 2014-05-05
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 512
  • ISBN 10 : 9780393348781

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Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking Excerpt :

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.

Brainstorms Book
Score: 3.5
From 3 Ratings

Brainstorms


  • Author : Daniel Clement Dennett
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Release Date : 1981
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 392
  • ISBN 10 : 0262540371

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Brainstorms Excerpt :

This collection of 17 essays by the author offers a comprehensive theory of mind, encompassing traditional issues of consciousness and free will. Using careful arguments and ingenious thought-experiments, the author exposes familiar preconceptions and hobbling institutions. This collection of 17 essays by the author offers a comprehensive theory of mind, encompassing traditional issues of consciousness and free will. Using careful arguments and ingenious thought-experiments, the author exposes familiar preconceptions and hobbling institutions. The essays are grouped into four sections: Intentional Explanation and Attributions of Mentality; The Nature of Theory in Psychology; Objects of Consciousness and the Nature of Experience; and Free Will and Personhood.

Freedom Evolves Book
Score: 4
From 6 Ratings

Freedom Evolves


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Release Date : 2004-01-27
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 368
  • ISBN 10 : 9781101572665

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Freedom Evolves Excerpt :

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.

Surfaces and Essences Book
Score: 3
From 7 Ratings

Surfaces and Essences


  • Author : Douglas R Hofstadter
  • Publisher : Basic Books
  • Release Date : 2013-04-23
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 592
  • ISBN 10 : 9780465021581

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Surfaces and Essences Excerpt :

Analogy is the core of all thinking. This is the simple but unorthodox premise that Pulitzer Prize -- winning author Douglas Hofstadter and French psychologist Emmanuel Sander defend in their new work. Hofstadter has been grappling with the mysteries of human thought for over thirty years. Now, with his trademark wit and special talent for making complex ideas vivid, he has partnered with Sander to put forth a highly novel perspective on cognition. We are constantly faced with a swirling and intermingling multitude of ill-defined situations. Our brain's job is to try to make sense of this unpredictable, swarming chaos of stimuli. How does it do so? The ceaseless hail of input triggers analogies galore, helping us to pinpoint the essence of what is going on. Often this means the spontaneous evocation of words, sometimes idioms, sometimes the triggering of nameless, long-buried memories. Why did two-year-old Camille proudly exclaim, "I undressed the banana!"? Why do people who hear a story often blurt out, "Exactly the same thing happened to me!" when it was a completely different event? How do we recognize an aggressive driver from a split-second glance in our rearview mirror? What in a friend's remark triggers the offhand reply, "That's just sour grapes"? What did Albert Einstein see that made him suspect that light consists of particles when a century of research had driven the final nail in the coffin of that long-dead idea? The answer to all these questions, of course, is analogy-making -- the meat and potatoes, the heart and soul, the fuel and fire, the gist and the crux, the lifeblood and the wellsprings of thought. Analogy-making, far from happening at rare intervals, occurs at all moments, defining thinking from top to toe, from the tiniest and most fleeting thoughts to the most creative scientific insights. Like Gö, Escher, Bach before it, Surfaces and Essences will profoundly enrich our understanding of our own minds. By plunging the reader into an extraor

Elbow Room  new edition Book

Elbow Room new edition


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Release Date : 2015-08-07
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 243
  • ISBN 10 : 9780262527798

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Elbow Room new edition Excerpt :

A landmark book in the debate over free will that makes the case for compatibilism. 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.

Inside Jokes Book

Inside Jokes


  • Author : Matthew M. Hurley
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Release Date : 2013-02-08
  • Genre: Psychology
  • Pages : 374
  • ISBN 10 : 9780262518697

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Inside Jokes Excerpt :

An evolutionary and cognitive account of the addictive mind candy that is humor. 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.

Breaking the Spell Book
Score: 3.5
From 23 Ratings

Breaking the Spell


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Release Date : 2006-02-02
  • Genre: Religion
  • Pages : 464
  • ISBN 10 : 9781101218860

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Breaking the Spell Excerpt :

The New York Times bestseller – a “crystal-clear, constantly engaging” (Jared Diamond) exploration of the role that religious belief plays in our lives and our interactions 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.

Content and Consciousness Book

Content and Consciousness


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Release Date : 2010-04-05
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 264
  • ISBN 10 : 9781136907135

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Content and Consciousness Excerpt :

Content and Consciousness is an original and ground-breaking attempt to elucidate a problem integral to the history of Western philosophical thought: the relationship of the mind and body. In this formative work, Dennett sought to develop a theory of the human mind and consciousness based on new and challenging advances in the field that came to be known as cognitive science. This important and illuminating work is widely-regarded as the book from which all of Dennett’s future ideas developed. It is his first explosive rebuttal of Cartesian dualism and one of the founding texts of philosophy of mind.

A Beautiful Question Book
Score: 3.5
From 5 Ratings

A Beautiful Question


  • Author : Frank Wilczek
  • Publisher : Penguin
  • Release Date : 2015-07-14
  • Genre: Science
  • Pages : 400
  • ISBN 10 : 9780698195622

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A Beautiful Question Excerpt :

Does the universe embody beautiful ideas? Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” With Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek as your guide, embark on a voyage of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present. Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was inspired by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature. In fact, every major advance in his career came from this intuition: to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, forms whose hallmarks are symmetry—harmony, balance, proportion—and economy. There are other meanings of “beauty,” but this is the deep logic of the universe—and it is no accident that it is also at the heart of what we find aesthetically pleasing and inspiring. Wilczek is hardly alone among great scientists in charting his course using beauty as his compass. As he reveals in A Beautiful Question, this has been the heart of scientific pursuit from Pythagoras, the ancient Greek who was the first to argue that “all things are number,” to Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and into the deep waters of twentiethcentury physics. Though the ancients weren’t right about everything, their ardent belief in the music of the spheres has proved true down to the quantum level. Indeed, Wilczek explores just how intertwined our ideas about beauty and art are with our scientific understanding of the cosmos. Wilczek brings us right to the edge of knowledge today, where the core insights of even the craziest quantum ideas apply principles we all understand. The equations for atoms and light are almost literally the same equations that govern musical instruments and sound; the subatomic particles that are responsible for most of our mass are determined by simple geometric symmetries. The universe itself, suggests Wilczek, seems to want to embody beautiful and elegant forms. Perhaps this force is the pure elegance of numbers, perhaps the work of a h

The Selfish Gene Book
Score: 4
From 10 Ratings

The Selfish Gene


  • Author : Richard Dawkins
  • Publisher : Oxford University Press
  • Release Date : 2016-05-26
  • Genre: Science
  • Pages : 544
  • ISBN 10 : 9780191093067

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The Selfish Gene Excerpt :

The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages. As influential today as when it was first published, The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as relevant today as on the day it was published. This 40th anniversary edition includes a new epilogue from the author discussing the continuing relevance of these ideas in evolutionary biology today, as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

Sweet Dreams Book
Score: 3.5
From 2 Ratings

Sweet Dreams


  • Author : Daniel C. Dennett
  • Publisher : MIT Press
  • Release Date : 2006-09-08
  • Genre: Philosophy
  • Pages : 216
  • ISBN 10 : 9780262250726

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Sweet Dreams Excerpt :

In the years since Daniel Dennett's influential Consciousness Explained was published in 1991, scientific research on consciousness has been a hotly contested battleground of rival theories—"so rambunctious," Dennett observes, "that several people are writing books just about the tumult." With Sweet Dreams, Dennett returns to the subject for "revision and renewal" of his theory of consciousness, taking into account major empirical advances in the field since 1991 as well as recent theoretical challenges. In Consciousness Explained, Dennett proposed to replace the ubiquitous but bankrupt Cartesian Theater model (which posits a privileged place in the brain where "it all comes together" for the magic show of consciousness) with the Multiple Drafts Model. Drawing on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, he asserted that human consciousness is essentially the mental software that reorganizes the functional architecture of the brain. In Sweet Dreams, he recasts the Multiple Drafts Model as the "fame in the brain" model, as a background against which to examine the philosophical issues that "continue to bedevil the field." With his usual clarity and brio, Dennett enlivens his arguments with a variety of vivid examples. He isolates the "Zombic Hunch" that distorts much of the theorizing of both philosophers and scientists, and defends heterophenomenology, his "third-person" approach to the science of consciousness, against persistent misinterpretations and objections. The old challenge of Frank Jackson's thought experiment about Mary the color scientist is given a new rebuttal in the form of "RoboMary," while his discussion of a famous card trick, "The Tuned Deck," is designed to show that David Chalmers's Hard Problem is probably just a figment of theorists' misexploited imagination. In the final essay, the "intrinsic" nature of "qualia" is compared with the naively imagined "intrinsic value" of a dollar in "Consciousness—How Much is That in