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Daniel Dennett: Reconciling Science and Our Self-Conception

Daniel Dennett: Reconciling Science and Our Self-Conception

Matthew Elton

ISBN: 978-0-745-62116-6

Oct 2003, Polity

312 pages

In Stock

$69.95

Description

Daniel Dennett is one of the most influential thinkers at the interface between philosophy and science. This book is the first comprehensive examination of Dennett’s ideas on the nature of thought, consciousness, free will, and the significance of Darwinism.

  • A highly original introduction to contemporary thinking about the relationship between mind and science.
  • This is the first comprehensive examination of Dennett’s ideas on the nature of thought, consciousness, free will, and the significance of Darwinism.
  • Examines Dennett’s unique response to the question of when and how science should affect the conception that we have of ourselves.
  • Casts new light on specific controversies: Could robots ever think, feel, and enjoy freedom? Does Dennett really explain consciousness? Are mental states real or merely ‘useful fictions’? Do we have free will? Is the self a ‘centre of narrative gravity’?
Acknowledgements.

Abbreviations.

Preface.

1. Dennett and the Philosophy of Mind.

2. Adopting A Stance.

3. Real Patterns.

4. Different Kinds Of Psychology.

5. Explaining Consciousness: The Basic Account.

6. Explaining Consciousness:Developments, Doubts And The Self.

7. Dennett's Darwin.

8. A Variety Of Free Will Worth Wanting.

Notes.

Glossary.

Bibliography.

Index

"Elton's book will be an invaluable companion for anyone hoping to get to grips with Dennett's rich and expansive vision." David Bain, The Philosophical Quarterly April 2005

‘For over thirty years Daniel Dennett has been among the most important, innovative and engaging philosophers in the world. With the appearance of his book, Consciousness Explained, in 1991, his fame and his influence spread throughout the academic world and beyond. While there has been a great deal written about Dennett’s ideas, until now we have had no systematic, integrated account of the "real patterns" that run through Dennett’s philosophy. Elton’s clear, readable and well-informed book provides just such an account. This is the ideal book for readers – and they are many – who’ve been captivated by reading Dennett’s work and want to understand how the themes that he explores with such intellectual exuberance fit together in an integrated account of human agents and the sciences that study them.’ – Professor Stephen Stich, Department of Philosophy and Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University

‘This is an excellent introduction to the twists and turns of Dennett’s thinking. In guiding the reader through a luminous yet sometimes puzzling maze of images, empirical excursions, thought experiments and hard arguments, Matthew Elton lays bare the deep unifying agenda that animates all of Dennett’s work. Combining the roles of careful critic and generous host, Elton’s patient excavations will help the novice and excite the expert.’ – Professor Andy Clark, Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Department of Philosophy, Indiana University


  • A highly original introduction to contemporary thinking about the relationship between mind and science.

  • This is the first comprehensive examination of Dennett’s ideas on the nature of thought, consciousness, free will, and the significance of Darwinism.

  • Examines Dennett’s unique response to the question of when and how science should affect the conception that we have of ourselves.

  • Casts new light on specific controversies: Could robots ever think, feel, and enjoy freedom? Does Dennett really explain consciousness? Are mental states real or merely ‘useful fictions’? Do we have free will? Is the self a ‘centre of narrative gravity’?