Reading Daniel Dennett

He’s got a new book out.

His philosophical rhetoric has always struck me as a little strange: rather than offering arguments in support of his proposed views, he offers arguments against variant views.

Of course Dennett is aware that no such arguments can, by themselves, support his own proposals.  Supporting arguments are scattered throughout the chapters and paragraphs of his ponderously named From Bacteria to Bach and Back Again.  But they aren’t easy to find.

Commenting on the book, and its arguments, is a bit awkward for me for several mutually incompatible reasons:

  • I hold many of the same views as Dennett does on the nature of minds;
  • I deny the validity of all his arguments against religion.

How are these incompatible with each other?  Well, it would seem, in realms of everyday colloquial intelligence, that if human consciousness is really the sort of activity that Dennett proposes, erected on the biological and memetic foundations he proposes, then no propositions expressing human spiritual awareness, activity, or aspiration, could possibly reflect any scientifically ascertainable facts.

Yes, it would indeed seem like that.

But that’s the seeming that I deny.

In other words, I assert that

propositions expressing human spiritual awareness, activity, or aspiration, can reflect scientifically ascertainable facts.

Stay tuned.