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From Bacteria to Bach and Back

From Bacteria to Bach and Back

The Evolution of Minds

by Daniel C. Dennett

Hardback Publication Date: 07/02/2017

 

How did we come to have minds?

For centuries, this question has intrigued psychologists, physicists, poets, and philosophers, who have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled ability to create, imagine, and explain. Disciples of Darwin have long aspired to explain how consciousness, language, and culture could have appeared through natural selection, blazing promising trails that tend, however, to end in confusion and controversy. Even though our understanding of the inner workings of proteins, neurons, and DNA is deeper than ever before, the matter of how our minds came to be has largely remained a mystery.

That is now changing, says Daniel C. Dennett. In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, his most comprehensive exploration of evolutionary thinking yet, he builds on ideas from computer science and biology to show how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. Part philosophical whodunit, part bold scientific conjecture, this landmark work enlarges themes that have sustained Dennett's legendary career at the forefront of philosophical thought.

In his inimitable style--laced with wit and arresting thought experiments--Dennett explains that a crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Language, itself composed of memes, turbocharged this interplay. Competition among memes--a form of natural selection--produced thinking tools so well-designed that they gave us the power to design our own memes. The result, a mind that not only perceives and controls but can create and comprehend, was thus largely shaped by the process of cultural evolution.

An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers, scientists, and thinkers, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain anyone eager to make sense of how the mind works and how it came about.

ISBN:
9780393242072
9780393242072
Category:
Philosophy of mind
Format:
Hardback
Publication Date:
07-02-2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
W. W.\Norton#& Company, Incorporated
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):
243.84x167.64x40.64mm
Weight:
0.83kg
Daniel C. Dennett

Daniel C. Dennett is the University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University.

He is the author of numerous books including Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, Breaking the Spell, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and Consciousness Explained.

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