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Daniel C. Dennett Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Content and Consciousness (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul (With: Douglas R. Hofstadter) (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Moral First Aid Manual: The Tanner Lectures on Human Values (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Philosophical Lexicon (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Intentional Stance (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Quining Qualia (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Consciousness Explained (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mind and Reality: The Nature of Mind and the Expansion of Consciousness (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Computational Perspective (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Freedom Evolves (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thank Goodness! (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where Am I? (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (With: Alvin Plantinga) (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind (With: Matthew Hurley,Reginald B. Adams Jr.) (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caught in The Pulpit:Leaving Belief Behind (With: Linda LaScola) (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Four Horsemen (With: Christopher Hitchens,Richard Dawkins,Sam Harris) (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Just Deserts: Debating Free Will (With: Gregg D. Caruso) (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
I've Been Thinking (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

A Glorious Accident(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mind and Consciousness: 5 Questions(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Explains Everything(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Daniel C. Dennett is an American author, philosopher, and cognitive scientist. In science, his research centers on the philosophy of science, mind, and biology as those fields relate to cognitive science and evolutionary biology. Daniel is one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, along with Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. He is a professor of Philosophy and the co-director of the Center of Cognitive Studies at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Throughout his career, Daniel has won several awards and prizes. In 2010, he was listed in the Freedom from Religion Foundation Honorary Board of distinguished achievers. In 2012, he won the Erasmus Prize, an annual award given to the person with the best contribution to European society, culture, and social science. In 2018, Daniel was awarded an honorary degree by Radboud University for his contributions and influence on cross-disciplinary science.

Dennett began his teaching career at the University of California, Irvine, in 1965 and taught at the institution until 1971. He also taught at Tufts University, where he established a long-lasting academic presence, with occasional appearances at Harvard University and various other institutions during his career. He describes himself as an autodidact, in his definition, a beneficiary of a hundred hours of informal tutorial in every field that interests him from some of the world’s most known scientists.
Dennett married the love of his life, Susan Bell, in 1962. The couple live in North Andover, Massachusetts, with their daughter, son, and five grandchildren.

Daniel Dennett has published several books, and one of the notable ones is Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.

Dennett’s book, ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,’ stands as a notable contribution to the literature on evolution. Daniel C. Dennett, a prominent figure among the so-called ‘Four Horsemen’ of atheism (including Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris), distinguishes himself by offering a more focused exploration of the science behind evolution, steering clear of the fiery critiques often associated with his peers.

The book comprises three sections that collectively provide a comprehensive view of evolution’s intricacies. In the opening section, titled ‘Starting in the Middle,’ Dennett delves into the current state of evolutionary theory, tracing its origins from pre-Darwinian ideas and highlighting its contemporary relevance. The second section, ‘Darwinian Thinking in Biology,’ delves into recent biological theories seeking to move beyond Darwin’s framework. Dennett skillfully connects these theories back to either Darwin’s principles or supernatural explanations. The final section, ‘Mind, Meaning, Mathematics, and Morality,’ tackles complex questions and offers plausible scenarios to address them.

For the majority of our history, spanning approximately 6 million years since our evolutionary divergence from chimps and bonobos, humanity lived in ignorance about the origins of the world around us. This ignorance fueled the need for explanatory frameworks, with religion often filling this role. However, the past 150 years have seen a significant shift as we’ve begun to set aside mythologies in favor of empirical truth. In this unique era, humanity finds itself in the position of the universe comprehending itself. Despite the possibility of countless Earth-like planets, we currently lack evidence suggesting that we are not alone in this cosmic endeavor.

The central and provocative idea that Dennett explores is that non-sentient matter, through a process of blind, unguided experimentation within the boundaries of natural laws (chemistry and physics) and an immense span of time, has not only given rise to life but has also led to the diverse array of life forms we observe today through the mechanism of natural selection. Dennett labels this idea a ‘universal acid’ for its corrosive effect on religious and anthropocentric narratives that have long placed humanity at the center of the cosmos.
The comfort of believing in a benevolent creator and the notion of a transcendent ‘self’ separate from the physical body is appealing. However, these desires remain devoid of empirical substantiation. With a blend of patience and humor, Dennett systematically dismantles attempts to disprove Darwin’s ideas, even from within the scientific community itself. He underscores the reluctance of some scientists to relinquish the concept of a ‘skyhook’—an external, inexplicable agent—responsible for our unique capacity for directed thought independent of natural selection.

Dennett acknowledges the distinctiveness of humanity, given our language, consciousness, and culture. However, he does not diminish our importance but instead emphasizes our capacity to transcend genetic constraints through the world of ideas we’ve constructed and readily share with one another. He underscores that we are the architects of our destiny and urges vigilance against the allure of returning to the comforts of mythological beliefs.

The strengths of Dennett’s book are manifold. He introduces a vocabulary of terms, such as ‘skyhooks’ and ‘cranes,’ to facilitate comprehension and guide readers through complex concepts. Dennett deftly employs examples from the outset and maintains them throughout the book to elucidate his arguments effectively. His writing is lucid, ensuring that the discussion remains accessible to a broad audience without delving into excessive technical jargon. Moreover, he provides a bibliography, offering readers opportunities to delve deeper into specific subtopics of interest.

For those seeking enlightenment, ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea offers a compelling alternative to traditional religious texts. It does not necessitate intermediaries like shamans or priests; instead, attentive readers can discover how even the most intricate mysteries become lucid when viewed through the transformative lens of Darwin’s dangerous idea—a notion that, remarkably, can be substantiated across various domains.

Admittedly, ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’ is not a quick and effortless read. Its meticulous structure demands attention, as ideas span across several pages, requiring readers to follow the logical threads. Nevertheless, the language remains non-technical, peppered with everyday phrases. Dennett carefully defines his terms, allowing the readers to remember these definitions as they reappear throughout the book.

Overall, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea book represents a thought-provoking exploration of evolution that bypasses ideological speeches in favor of scientific facts. Dennett’s in-depth use of language, illustrative examples, and the book’s easy accessibility make it an engaging read for anyone interested in delving into the intricacies of evolutionary theory and its far-reaching implications.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Daniel C. Dennett

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