Philosopher Dennett to lecture at IU Bloomington

Post by IU News and Media Specialist Steve Hinnefeld who normally writes for the Policy Briefings blog:

Daniel Dennett has been called “one of our most important living philosophers,” a “Darwinian fundamentalist” and quite a few other things, positive and negative. As Julian Baggini observed in a profile for the Guardian, big thinkers make big targets, and they don’t come much bigger than Dennett.

Dan C. Dennett

Daniel C. Dennett | Tufts University

Expect thought-provoking analysis and lively discussion this week when Dennett presents two lectures at IU Bloomington as the inaugural event in the Department of Philosophy distinguished speaker series.

Dennett will speak Nov. 10 on “From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds” and Nov. 11 on “A Magician’s View of Consciousness.” Both lectures will be from 4 to 6 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union. They are free and open to the public.

“For almost five decades now, Daniel Dennett has been a powerful and influential advocate for explaining minds and behavior in scientific terms,” said Gary Ebbs, professor and chair of the philosophy department. “He draws on results from biology, psychology and neuroscience to demystify the mind.  His writings and lectures weave together vivid, thought-provoking examples, informed expositions of scientific results and high-level clarifications of key concepts and experiences of our mental life.”

Dennett is co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, where he is also University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy. He is the author of “Breaking the Spell,” “Freedom Evolves”, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” and other books. He co-edited “The Mind’s I,” published in 1981, with IU College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor Douglas Hofstadter.

His most recent books include “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking” and “Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind.” His latest, “From Bacteria to Bach and Back,” is in press. His TED Talks, including “The Illusion of Consciousness” and “Dangerous Memes,” have been viewed millions of times.

The author of over 400 scholarly articles, Dennett has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987. He was an Indiana University William T. Patten Lecturer in 2006.

For more on Dennett and his IU lectures, see Hussain Ather’s article in the Indiana Daily Student.

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