Daniel Dennett’s New Book Argues Consciousness Is An Illusion & No More Special Than A Light Switch

by • May 21, 2013 • Books, Neuroscience, Philosophy, ScienceComments (0)4369

Jonathan Weiner of The Daily Beast just published his review of renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett‘s brand new book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking.   “For Daniel Dennett, philosophers are like blacksmiths: they make their own tools as they go along,” Weiner writes.  “Unlike carpenters, who have to buy their drills and saws at Sears, blacksmiths can use their own hammers, tongs, and anvils to pound out more hammers, tongs, and anvils.  Dennett, whose famous white beard gives him the look of both a blacksmith and a philosopher, has been particularly industrious at the anvil.  He has been working as a philosopher for 50 years, and in his new book, ‘Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking’, he shares a few tricks to make the hard work easier.  He is a master at inventing tools for thought — metaphysical jokes, fables, parables, puzzles, and zany Monty-Python-like sketches that can help thinkers feel their way forward.  Dennett calls them hand tools and power tools for the mind, and he’s built dozens and dozens of them over the years.”

In his new book, Dennett argues the very uncomfortable idea that “there is no great gulf between nonliving, unconscious gizmos like computers and light switches, on the one hand, and the human brain, on the other,” Weiner writes.  Dennett builds a strong case where he maintains there is nothing special or unique about human consciousness — any belief that it is unique is merely an illusion.  Just as our civilization once believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, our belief that consciousness is somehow profoundly special will fade with time and scientific advancement as well.

“Read this book carefully and you’ll find yourself Jumping Out of the System in all directions,” Weiner writes.  “Dennett will lift off the top of your head, and tie your forehead into knots.”  You can read Jonathan Weiner’s review of Daniel Dennett’s Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking in full by visiting TheDailyBeast.com.  And to purchase your own copy of Dennett’s book simply head over to Amazon.

SEE ALSO: Hitchens, Dennett, Dawkins, Harris And The Greatest Conversation Of All Time
SEE ALSO: How Consciousness Emerged In The Brain And Why The Web Is On Course To Developing Feelings


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