This Is Your Brain, On
Two books seek to explain how our minds work their way through the maze of consciousness
Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking
by Daniel C. Dennett
$27.95 List Price
YOU DON’T HAVE TO CONDUCT A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT to see why some philosophers or scientists want to write for an audience cheerfully indifferent to the ways of the seminar room and the strictures of the refereed journal. Beyond the fame and fortune, perhaps more important is the sense that if one’s work is worth doing at all, it ought to reach the widest possible audience, particularly when it bears on issues (religion, free will) with decisive implications for how readers choose to live. Some, I imagine, also relish the bonus frisson of mixing it up in the rowdy rough-and-tumble of the public arena. If you’re like Daniel C. Dennett—one of whose many mantras is Gore Vidal’s “It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail”—what’s the point of felling a philosophical tree if there’s no one to hear it?
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