In this book Daniel Dennett suggests his most comprehensive exploration of evolutionary thinking yet, he builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett’s legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought.
How did we come to have minds?
For centuries, this question has intrigued psychologists, physicists, poets, and philosophers, who have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled ability to create, imagine, and explain. Disciples of Darwin have long aspired to explain how consciousness, language, and culture could have appeared through natural selection, blazing promising trails that tend, however, to end in confusion and controversy. Even though our understanding of the inner workings of proteins, neurons, and DNA is deeper than ever before, the matter of how our minds came to be has largely remained a mystery.
That is now changing, says Daniel C. Dennett. In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, his most comprehensive exploration of evolutionary thinking yet, he builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett’s legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought.
In his inimitable style―laced with wit and arresting thought experiments―Dennett explains that a crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Language, itself composed of memes, turbocharged this interplay. Competition among memes―a form of natural selection―produced thinking tools so well-designed that they gave us the power to design our own memes. The result, a mind that not only perceives and controls but can create and comprehend, was thus largely shaped by the process of cultural evolution.
An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers, scientists, and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain anyone eager to make sense of how the mind works and how it came about.
The seminar has been devoted to the book of the distinguished Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne “Mind, Brain and Free Will”. Swinburn takes an unpopular position for nowdays, defending the substance dualism and proving the existence not only of the soul, but of God. His ideas do not find wide support among the staff of the Center, nevertheless, we consider it important to discuss those views that do not evoke agreement. This is one of the most important foundations of scientific dialogue.
The problem of personal identity is one of the most discussed in the contemporary philosophy. It includes questions about the Self, personality, its identity in time and unity. May 17, 2018, at the Faculty of Philosophy of Moscow State University hosted a conference on this issue.
The summer school of our Center "Consciousness and Introspection" ended last week. It was attended by graduate students and young scholars from Russia, Australia, Europe, and America. Due to the pandemic, it was held online. The school was led by Professor Daniel Stoljar, Australian National University. Here all the lectures of the school.
The summer school of the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies on the topic of Consciousness and Introspection will be held online. The summer school will be led by philosopher Prof. Daniel Stoljar, Australian National University. The new dates of the summer school are July 13th–25th. Click for details.
The Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies (MCCS) is hosting a summer school on the topic of Consciousness and Introspection on July 13th – July 19th, 2020. The summer school will be led by philosopher Prof. Daniel Stoljar, Australian National University.
The exhibition "This Is Not a Book: Dmitry Volkov Collection. The Story of a Man, His Art and Library" will open at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art on November 28. The works of Russian artists will be presented side by side with rare editions of the treatises of Kant, Hegel, Bacon and Descartes.
We've made music on consciousness "Dancing Qualia". It is a collaboration among the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies, the Institute for the Perspective Brain Studies of MSU and 'D-Pulse' band from St.Petersburg.
This is a very unique issue on metaphilosophy. You can find papers written by Timothy Williamson, Daniel Dennett, Joshua Knobe, and Daniel Stoljar. It is a mutual project of the Center and journal "Epistemology & Philosophy of Science". All papers are here.