Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dan Dennett's Latest Cognitive Toolbox

by Gary Berg-Cross

Daniel Dennett's new book "Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking", should be out in a few weeks but it already has some reviews. The book is about methods can we use to answer life's most fundamental questions. You can actually preview some of the chapters which stat by dealing with
General Thinking Tools - like Occam's razor, but also Occam's Broom. This is followed by discussing Tools for Meaning, tools for thinking about evolution, consciousness and the like.  These include "imagination extenders and focus-holders" that Dennett and others have developed for dealing with difficult topics that some of us like to read about and discuss: evolution, meaning, mind, and free will. In other words topics that cross and integrate great philosophical, psychological and biological ground.

As always Dennett offers insight and ideas that are debatable. A big topic here is a continuation of Dawkins' discussion of memes and how they obey some abstracted tenets of Darwinian Evolutions.

His starting argument asking if words are things, symbolic but thingy.  This going to provoke some commentary.

 If you grant that words are" things" then we offer the possibility of consider memes some kinds of "things" also perhaps in a realm between physical things and symbolic thing. Well how about calling it a conceptual thing?



Intuition Pumps:


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