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Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness
     

Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness

3.2 5
by Daniel C. Dennett
 

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In the years since Daniel Dennett's influential Consciousness Explained was published in 1991, scientific research on consciousness has been a hotly contested battleground of rival theories -- "so rambunctious," Dennett observes, "that several people are writing books just about the tumult." With Sweet Dreams, Dennett returns to the subject for "revision

Overview

In the years since Daniel Dennett's influential Consciousness Explained was published in 1991, scientific research on consciousness has been a hotly contested battleground of rival theories -- "so rambunctious," Dennett observes, "that several people are writing books just about the tumult." With Sweet Dreams, Dennett returns to the subject for "revision and renewal" of his theory of consciousness, taking into account major empirical advances in the field since 1991 as well as recent theoretical challenges.In Consciousness Explained, Dennett proposed to replace the ubiquitous but bankrupt Cartesian Theater model (which posits a privileged place in the brain where "it all comes together" for the magic show of consciousness) with the Multiple Drafts Model. Drawing on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, he asserted that human consciousness is essentially the mental software that reorganizes the functional architecture of the brain. In Sweet Dreams, he recasts the Multiple Drafts Model as the "fame in the brain" model, as a background against which to examine the philosophical issues that "continue to bedevil the field."With his usual clarity and brio, Dennett enlivens his arguments with a variety of vivid examples. He isolates the "Zombic Hunch" that distorts much of the theorizing of both philosophers and scientists, and defends heterophenomenology, his "third-person" approach to the science of consciousness, against persistent misinterpretations and objections. The old challenge of Frank Jackson's thought experiment about Mary the color scientist is given a new rebuttal in the form of "RoboMary," while his discussion of a famous card trick, "The Tuned Deck," is designed to show that David Chalmers's Hard Problem is probably just a figment of theorists' misexploited imagination. In the final essay, the "intrinsic" nature of "qualia" is compared with the naively imagined "intrinsic value" of a dollar in "Consciousness -- How Much is That in Real Money?"

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Into this fray ridesonce again the tireless figure of Daniel Dennett,...

whose new book, Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness is a collection of essays devoted mainly to identifying and pummeling those diehard intuitions that he believes, rightly, still obstruct the progress of cognitive neuroscience" The New Scientist

One of the 100 Most Influential Books of 2005: "In characteristically playful mode, Darwinian fundamentalist Daniel Dennett turns his opposition's arguments against them in a masterful display of philosophical judo.... He is on his way to becoming the Herbert Spencer of our age, the man of ideas who can bridge radition and science, giving us a sense of how it is that the robot in the mirror is really us." The Globe and Mail

"In characteristically playful mode, Darwinian fundamentalist Daniel Dennett turns his opposition's arguments against them in a masterful display of philosophical judo.... He is on his way to becoming the Herbert Spencer of our age,the man of ideas who can bridge radition and science, giving us a sense of how it is that the robot in the mirror is really us." The Globe 100, the "Best and Most Influential Books of 2005" The Globe and Mail

The New Scientist
Into this fray ridesonce again the tireless figure of Daniel Dennett...whose new book, Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness is a collection of essays devoted mainly to identifying and pummeling those diehard intuitions that he believes, rightly, still obstruct the progress of cognitive neuroscience.

The Globe and Mail - One of the 100 Most Influential Books of 2005
In characteristically playful mode, Darwinian fundamentalist Daniel Dennett turns his opposition's arguments against them in a masterful display of philosophical judo...He is on his way to becoming the Herbert Spencer of our age, the man of ideas who can bridge radition and science, giving us a sense of how it is that the robot in the mirror is really us.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262250726
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
09/08/2006
Series:
Jean Nicod Lectures
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
1,055,650
File size:
873 KB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Into this fray ridesonce again the tireless figure of Daniel Dennett,... whose new book, Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness is a collection of essays devoted mainly to identifying and pummeling those diehard intuitions that he believes, rightly,still obstruct the progress of cognitive neuroscience" The New Scientist

The MIT Press

One of the 100 Most Influential Books of 2005: "In characteristically playful mode,Darwinian fundamentalist Daniel Dennett turns his opposition's arguments against them in a masterful display of philosophical judo.... He is on his way to becoming the Herbert Spencer of our age, the man of ideas who can bridge radition and science, giving us a sense of how it is that the robot in the mirror is really us." The Globe and Mail

The MIT Press

"In characteristically playful mode, Darwinian fundamentalist Daniel Dennett turns his opposition's arguments against them in a masterful display of philosophical judo.... He is on his way to becoming the Herbert Spencer of our age, the man of ideas who can bridge radition and science, giving us a sense of how it is that the robot in the mirror is really us." The Globe 100,the "Best and Most Influential Books of 2005" The Globe and Mail

The MIT Press

Meet the Author

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor Codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness; Elbow Room: T he Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (all published by the MIT Press), From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Mind, and other books.

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3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. As always
Matt2000 More than 1 year ago
My rating is based on the experience of the Nook edition, while has several annoying flaws, such as: - Inline Quotations appear in a much larger font that is unaffected by the Nook's text size settings. - Foot notes have the same problem, and instead of being kept in an appendix like most ebook editions, they are inserted in the middle of the text, destroying the flow of paragraphs! BN really needs to implement some quality control here. As for the book itself, I enjoyed it. I think I would have enjoyed it even more were it not for these technical frustrations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since this isn't out yet, I can comment only on information in the precis. But, with that in mind: 1. The RoboMary is discussed in Freedom Evolved, itself in turn an updating of Elbow Room. 2. Dennett appears not to give an inch on his rejection of qualia. 3. As (not in a Hindu mystic sense) we know that much of the mind is unconscious/subconscious, I'm curious as to how much he is willing to touch on a science of the UNconscious. After all, if it is 80-90 percent of human mental activity, arguably a science of unconsciousness is more important than a science of consciousness.