RE: Sue Blackmore (and other luminaries) - Dennett

From: Michael Lawrence (
Date: Mon 10 Feb 2003 - 12:57:10 GMT

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    > From: Vincent Campbell []

    > Speaking of Ms Blackmore, did anyone catch her on Horzion the
    > other night?

    Yeah I did.

    > It was one of the worst Horizon's I've ever seen from the
    > point of view of
    > its science, appearing to want to legitimate those who
    > interpret NDEs as
    > evidence of god, the afterlife etc. etc. There was
    > absolutely no critique
    > of the NDE narratives (all about meeting dead relatives, god,
    > jesus etc.
    > etc.- this was an almostly exclusively christian sample of
    > people), and
    > rather specious "memories" of operating procedures, and
    > "recognising" of
    > nurses were taken as unproblematic evidence of a complete
    > dislocation of
    > brain and mind.

    I completely agree with you.

    > Anyway, speaking of luminaries of the memetics world, I see that both
    > Dawkins and Dennett have new books out. Dennett's is about
    > freedom and does
    > talk about memes (acc. to a review I read),

    Dennett's book is called 'Freedom Evolves'

    Freedom Evolves by Daniel Clement Dennett

    Price: $18.17 You Save: $7.78 (30%) This item will be published in February 2003. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives. Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Viking Press; ISBN: 0670031860; (February 2003) AMAZON - US AMAZON - UK


    In this text, Daniel Dennett shows that human freedom is not an illusion; it is an objective phenomenon, distinct from all other biological conditions and found only in one species - us. There was a time on this planet when it didn't exist, quite recently in fact. It had to evolve like every other feature of the biosphere and it continues to evolve today. Dennett shows that far from there being an incompatibility between contemporary science and the traditional vision of freedom and morality, it is only recently that science has advanced to the point where we can see how we came to have our unique kind of freedom.

    Editorial Reviews

    Book Description

    Daniel C. Dennett is a brilliant polemicist, famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies. Over the last thirty years, he has played a major role in expanding our understanding of consciousness, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory. And with such groundbreaking, critically acclaimed books as Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist), he has reached a huge general and professional audience.

    In this new book, Dennett shows that evolution is the key to resolving the ancient problems of moral and political freedom. Like the planet's atmosphere on which life depends, the conditions on which our freedom depends had to evolve, and like the atmosphere, they continue to evolve-and could be extinguished. According to Dennett, biology provides the perspective from which we can distinguish the varieties of freedom that matter. Throughout the history of life on this planet, an interacting web and internal and external conditions have provided the frameworks for the design of agents that are more free than their parts-from the unwitting gropings of the simplest life forms to the more informed activities of animals to the moral dilemmas that confront human beings living in societies.

    As in his previous books, Dennett weaves a richly detailed narrative enlivened by analogies as entertaining as they are challenging. Here is the story of how we came to be different from all other creatures, how our early ancestors mindlessly created human culture, and then, how culture gave us our minds, our visions, our moral problems-in a nutshell, our freedom.

    About the Author

    Daniel C. Dennett is a university professor and the director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. In addition to Darwin's Dangerous Idea, he is also the author of Kinds of Minds and Consciousness Explained.

    Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett by Daniel Dennett



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