Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking

4.3 9
by Daniel C. Dennett
     
 

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“The best new book I’ve read.”—Richard Dawkins, New York Times Book Review
Over a storied career, Daniel C. Dennett has engaged questions about science and the workings of the mind. His answers have combined rigorous argument with strong empirical grounding. And a lot of fun.
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Overview

“The best new book I’ve read.”—Richard Dawkins, New York Times Book Review
Over a storied career, Daniel C. Dennett has engaged questions about science and the workings of the mind. His answers have combined rigorous argument with strong empirical grounding. And a lot of fun.
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking offers seventy-seven of Dennett’s most successful "imagination-extenders and focus-holders" meant to guide you through some of life’s most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, mind, and free will. With patience and wit, Dennett deftly deploys his thinking tools to gain traction on these thorny issues while offering readers insight into how and why each tool was built.Alongside well-known favorites like Occam’s Razor and reductio ad absurdum lie thrilling descriptions of Dennett’s own creations: Trapped in the Robot Control Room, Beware of the Prime Mammal, and The Wandering Two-Bitser. Ranging across disciplines as diverse as psychology, biology, computer science, and physics, Dennett’s tools embrace in equal measure light-heartedness and accessibility as they welcome uninitiated and seasoned readers alike. As always, his goal remains to teach you how to "think reliably and even gracefully about really hard questions."A sweeping work of intellectual seriousness that’s also studded with impish delights, Intuition Pumps offers intrepid thinkers—in all walks of life—delicious opportunities to explore their pet ideas with new powers.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“An excellent introduction to Dennett’s body of thought.”
New York Times
“Perhaps America’s most widely read (and debated) living philosopher. . . . [Intuition Pumps is] a lively primer on the radical answers Mr. Dennett has elaborated to the big questions in his nearly five decades in philosophy”
Nature
“A philosopher’s box of tools for the musing mind.”
Daily Beast
““[Dennett] is a master at inventing tools for thought—
metaphysical jokes, fables, parables, puzzles, and zany
Monty-Python-like sketches that can help thinkers feel their way forward.”
Michael Shermer - Science
“One of the most original thinkers of our time.”
Carlin Romano - Philadelphia Inquirer
“The sharpest, cleverest, most stylish prober of how issues of human consciousness interconnect today with evolutionary theory.”
Jason Gots
“Cloaked in the breezy, familiar trappings of a self-help book, Intuition Pumps is in actuality a dark mirror of that genre—a field of rabbit holes designed to leave the reader with more questions than answers, and wiser for the long and indirect journey.”
Marvin Minsky
“Our best current philosopher. He is the next Bertrand Russell. Unlike traditional philosophers, Dan is a student of neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science, and psychology. He’s redefining and reforming the role of the philosopher.”
Richard Rorty
“Once in a blue moon an analytic philosopher comes along who redeems his subdiscipline by combining professional persnicketiness with a romantic spirit, a vivid imagination, and a sense of humor…One of our most original and most readable philosophers.”
Library Journal
Dennett (philosophy, Tufts Univ.; Consciousness Explained) thinks of intuition as ideas that have a central place around which other ideas hang. His phrase, "intuition pumps," refers to the philosopher's tools used to push such ideas to their limits. He argues that intuitions are either pushed aside and replaced with new ones, or they survive and become even more firmly rooted. According to Dennett, some of these tools are formal (the reductio ad absurdum), others are informal (various rhetorical fallacies), and still others resemble thought experiments. He introduces these general philosophical tools and then moves to a discussion of topics in which he is well known, such as evolution, consciousness, free will, etc. The author's weakness is lack of analysis; however, the concept of intuition pumps is in general provocative and makes for an entertaining intellectual appetizer. VERDICT Dennett shows himself again to be both avuncular to the curious and confrontational with opposing scholars. General readers and professionals should find him most engaging.—James Wetherbee, Wingate Univ. Libs., NC

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393348781
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/05/2014
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
135,485
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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