Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett

American philosopher
28 March 1942 —

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Daniel Dennett's books


The recognition of the difference between appearance and reality is a human discovery.

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The planet has finally grown its own nervous system: us.

Those who fear the facts will forever try to discredit the fact-finders.

Philosophers' Syndrome: mistaking a failure of the imagination for an insight into necessity.

If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I'd give it to Darwin, ahead of Newton and Einstein and everyone else. 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.

A scholar is just a library's way of making another library.

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Philosophers are never quite sure what they are talking about - about what the issues really are - and so it often takes them rather a long time to recognize that someone with a somewhat different approach (or destination, or starting point) is making a contribution.

The more we learn about what we are, the more options we will discern about what to try to become.

True, you don't have to be religious to be crazy, but it helps.

Life itself is just a thin coat of paint on the planet, and we hold the paintbrush.

Imagination is cheap as long as you don't have to worry about the details.

Some philosophers can`t bear to say simple things, like "Suppose a dog bites a man." They feel obliged instead to say, "Suppose a dog d bites a man m at time t," thereby demonstrating their unshakable commitment to logical rigor, even though they don`t go on to manipulate any formulae involving d, m, and t.

If I know better than you know what I am up to, it is only because I spend more time with myself than you do.

We are designed by evolution to be "informavores", epistemically hungry seekers of information, in an endless quest to improve our purchase on the world, the better to make decisions about our subjectively open future.

There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view I hold dear.


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