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Sat Mar 25, 2017, 05:06 PM

DANIEL DENNETT'S SCIENCE OF THE SOUL

Excellent interview with the brilliant Daniel Dennett:

DANIEL DENNETT’S SCIENCE OF THE SOUL
A philosopher’s lifelong quest to understand the making of the mind.
By Joshua Rothman

Four billion years ago, Earth was a lifeless place. Nothing struggled, thought, or wanted. Slowly, that changed. Seawater leached chemicals from rocks; near thermal vents, those chemicals jostled and combined. Some hit upon the trick of making copies of themselves that, in turn, made more copies. The replicating chains were caught in oily bubbles, which protected them and made replication easier; eventually, they began to venture out into the open sea. A new level of order had been achieved on Earth. Life had begun.

The tree of life grew, its branches stretching toward complexity. Organisms developed systems, subsystems, and sub-subsystems, layered in ever-deepening regression. They used these systems to anticipate their future and to change it. When they looked within, some found that they had selves—constellations of memories, ideas, and purposes that emerged from the systems inside. They experienced being alive and had thoughts about that experience. They developed language and used it to know themselves; they began to ask how they had been made.

This, to a first approximation, is the secular story of our creation. It has no single author; it’s been written collaboratively by scientists over the past few centuries. If, however, it could be said to belong to any single person, that person might be Daniel Dennett, a seventy-four-year-old philosopher who teaches at Tufts. In the course of forty years, and more than a dozen books, Dennett has endeavored to explain how a soulless world could have given rise to a soulful one. His special focus is the creation of the human mind. Into his own he has crammed nearly every related discipline: evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence. His newest book, “From Bacteria to Bach and Back,” tells us, “There is a winding path leading through a jungle of science and philosophy, from the initial bland assumption that we people are physical objects, obeying the laws of physics, to an understanding of our conscious minds.”

Dennett has walked that path before. In “Consciousness Explained,” a 1991 best-seller, he described consciousness as something like the product of multiple, layered computer programs running on the hardware of the brain. Many readers felt that he had shown how the brain creates the soul. Others thought that he’d missed the point entirely. To them, the book was like a treatise on music that focussed exclusively on the physics of musical instruments. It left untouched the question of how a three-pound lump of neurons could come to possess a point of view, interiority, selfhood, consciousness—qualities that the rest of the material world lacks. These skeptics derided the book as “Consciousness Explained Away.” Nowadays, philosophers are divided into two camps. The physicalists believe, with Dennett, that science can explain consciousness in purely material terms. The dualists believe that science can uncover only half of the picture: it can’t explain what Nabokov called “the marvel of consciousness—that sudden window swinging open on a sunlit landscape amidst the night of non-being.”

More...

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/daniel-dennetts-science-of-the-soul

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply DANIEL DENNETT'S SCIENCE OF THE SOUL (Original post)
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 OP
northoftheborder Mar 2017 #1
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 #2
northoftheborder Mar 2017 #3
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 #4
progressoid Mar 2017 #5
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 #6
uriel1972 Mar 2017 #7
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 #8
edhopper Mar 2017 #9
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 #10
edhopper Mar 2017 #11
beam me up scottie Mar 2017 #12
edhopper Mar 2017 #13

Response to beam me up scottie (Original post)

Sat Mar 25, 2017, 05:51 PM

1. Fascinating; brain expanding.

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 25, 2017, 06:00 PM

2. Dennett is a master. If you haven't seen him debate you should search for videos.

We need to clone that man.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 25, 2017, 06:09 PM

3. will pursue that; have article saved. thanks for something different to think about.

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 25, 2017, 06:15 PM

4. You're welcome. Diversions are both welcome and necessary right now.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Original post)

Sun Mar 26, 2017, 04:27 AM

5. Somebody gave me a subscription to the New Yorker.

I have that issue but haven't even opened it yet. Now I have a reason to!

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Response to progressoid (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 26, 2017, 04:32 AM

6. It's a wonderful article. Enjoy!

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Response to beam me up scottie (Original post)

Sun Mar 26, 2017, 09:38 AM

7. When dualists can explain...

how something immaterial can interact with something material and not leave a trace of that interaction, then I might start listening to them.

Otherwise patterns of matter and energy is all it is.

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Response to uriel1972 (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 26, 2017, 01:59 PM

8. Mysterious ways, his fingerprints are everywhere if you look, yadda yadda




Disclaimer: this is the atheists and agnostics group where we like to poke fun at religion.

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Response to beam me up scottie (Original post)

Mon Mar 27, 2017, 05:58 PM

9. He explains most of it

but what about James Brown and Aretha Franklin?

"Good God!"

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Response to edhopper (Reply #9)

Mon Mar 27, 2017, 08:49 PM

10. We're on a mission from God...

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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #10)

Mon Mar 27, 2017, 08:58 PM

11. And what about

Sam and Dave?

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Response to edhopper (Reply #11)

Mon Mar 27, 2017, 09:09 PM

12. When I first read your post I thought you said 'Son of Dave':

Devil Take my Soul:



Another good one - Shake a Bone:



And this one was part of the soundtrack in AMC's Preacher, the video has clips from the movie 'Freaks' - Voodoo Doll:



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Response to beam me up scottie (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 27, 2017, 09:43 PM

13. No cause

I'm a Soul Man!

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