From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. DennettHow 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.
Daniel Dennett: From Bacteria to Bach and Back
From Bacteria to Bach and Back : The Evolution of Minds
Daniel Dennett's latest book continues his quest to establish an evolutionary understanding of the mind. This article is a preview from the Autumn edition of New Humanist. Meticulously scientific and scientist-friendly, Daniel Dennett is first and foremost a philosopher, and this is the latest foray in his year quest to establish an evolutionary understanding of the mind. Much of the book is therefore a re-statement of his entire thesis, updated with lessons learned and stripped of extraneous argument and digression. The argument covers the evolution of life, from pre-biological physics and chemistry to the evolution of complex and intelligent life, including all that makes for human intelligence.
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.
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