From Bacteria to Bach and Back - The Evolution of Minds Read Online Free - 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.
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March 06, 2017
Every time I read Dennett, I wonder why I have put myself through such an ordeal. Aside from wanting to yell at Dennett, who isn't even in the room, I get the urge to throw things and yell, "No, no, and just NO!".
Skillfully, Dennett gives the impression that he is a deep and critical thinker. He...
March 04, 2017
Surveying Dennett's huge output, this is perhaps his most ambitious and accessible work. The criticisms below that there isn't much in the way of new thinking on several areas is valid and I don't think that proposing many grand new ideas was his intention for this work. As he states toward the b...
February 18, 2017
I love Dennett and I think he's brilliant. At the same time he's quirky and cranky and I don't know what else. A few bits in the book flew past me, but not so much - I think he was trying to reach a big audience. But I think the reason why I understood maybe 90% of this instead of 60% is because...
March 12, 2017
There is intelligent design. It's just not what the creationist think it is. Nature gives us competencies without comprehension. Comprehension means full understanding. Dennett gives the example of how the computer can do arithmetic without understanding as explained by Turing. His holy trinity w...
February 12, 2018
With every respect to Dennett's considerable intellect, this was a mess of a book. I guess it was partly my fault for thinking that I was about to read a scientific textbook on the origin and evolution of intelligence. Instead, it felt like I was trapped in a dull cocktail party with a group of w...
January 10, 2018
This is one of those books that I really liked, wanted to write a great review for, and consequently put off writing the review for way too long! I am remedying that now, not by writing a great review, but by writing a review.
Dennett's purpose in the book is to sketch an outline of how consciousn...
March 27, 2017
The title of this book implies a journey, and that's what it feels like...a long, twisty one with diversions to view the scenery, most of which, frankly, is rather dull. Along the way we're supposed to have learned something about 'the evolution of minds', and perhaps we do, a bit, but not much,...
September 10, 2017
There is very little about Bacteria, even less about Bach. Dennett revisits his arguments to date, combining them into a fairly long-winded and non-essential worldview. It’s the same reductive materialist ontology that permeates all of his work.
He attempts to explain away the problem of consciou...
April 07, 2017
Dennett continues more on how our consciousness is an emergent property of evolution, but the thing that struck me the most was the underlying implication that our consciousness seems to arise almost outside ourselves. Without language and social structure, we don't have consciousness. Our body r...
January 07, 2018
Um ótimo livro que não entrega a premissa de falar sobre a evolução da mente, de bactérias a humanos. Dennett reúne boas ideias e atualiza seus argumentos sobre como pensamos, memética e como até a linguagem recria a forma como o pensamento foi ficando mais complexo.
Várias ideias que já encontre...