Dennett – An Eternal Golden Braid

I’m a great fan of Dan Dennett, and have probably read just about everything he’s ever written. Apart from his “Consciousness Explained” which failed to live up to its title – “hardly!” I commented at the time – I’ve pretty much gone along with Dan on his own evolving understanding of evolutionary consciousness. He’s part of my journey.

The last book of his I read and reviewed, “Intuition Pumps and other Tools for Thinking was a kind of greatest hits with little new for me, but nevertheless highly recommended for newbies.

Since then his presentations describing the centrality of information to the evolution of complexity, both biological and cultural, and his efforts to set Sam Harris right on misunderstandings over free-will and consciousness have been most exciting to me. (Although I made references to it, I never did follow the Harris / Dennett rapprochement to its conclusion.)

Anyway, his latest “From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds” has been widely promoted and reviewed already, and I’ve not read it yet. As well as alluding to Doug Hofstadter’s “Godel-Esher-Bach an Eternal-Golden-Braid” (GEB / EGB) and the “Minds-I” work on which they collaborated, his latest appears to focus back on the conscious mind. I’m guessing the two recent explorations probably appear in chapters of the new book, but at the same time I’m nervous there may not be a lot new for me.

Dan and others shared  interview / reviews in Prospect Magazine, The FT and The Guardian, and other blogged reviews by Hyporion and The Washington Post and by Nagel in the NYRB

Anyway, I have some reading to do, before his latest arrives. Vive la Différance has been a recurring “information” theme for me too. Intriguing.


Also published on Medium.

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