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Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett: Book Reviews

Darwins Dangerous Idea

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Dennett's previous books were on subjects not my own, and I learned much and drew deep inspiration from them. Now he has entered a field that I know intimately — and I find that I learn more and am even more positively inspired. This is a surpassingly brilliant book. Where creative, it lifts the reader to new intellectual heights. Where criticial, it is devastating. Dennett shows that American intellectuals have been powerfully misled on evolutionary matters, and his book will undo much damage.
— Richard Dawkins, author of The Blind Watchmaker

Dennett's dangerous idea: to use his gift for lucid explanation and his twinkling wit to cure the strange allergy to Darwin in modern intellectual life. It is essential — and pleasurable — reading for any thinking person.
— Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct

With characteristic insight, verve, and wit, Dan Dennett ranges over central problems of philosophy, evolutionary biology, and cognitive science. Readers of Darwin's Dangerous Idea will not always be convinced, but they will be informed, entertained, and provoked by its arguments. Dennett's big themes are Life and Mind, and he is a wonderful advertisement for the life of the mind.
— Philip Kitcher, author of Vaulting Ambition

If you want an exciting, wide-ranging romp through great ideas, read this book. Daniel Dennett proves fully worthy of Charles Darwin.
— Jared M. Diamond, author of The Third Chimpanzee

Dennett shows that there are perfectly good cranes available for hauling higher intellectiual functions up by their bootstraps. This will no doubt disappoint those fans of the consciousness physicists and the anti-AI philosophers who seek mircaulous skyhooks to keep us well insulated from the brain mechanisms of mere animals. But Dennett argues, entertains, and cajoles very effectively; the skeptical reader who asks 'Show me how it could be done' will find incremental answers.
— William H. Calvin, author of The Ascent of Mind

In this clear and rigorous testing of Darwinian theory across modern science, Dennett persuades us that evolution by natural selection is vital to the future of philosophy.
— Edward O. Wilson, author of On Human Nature

Darwin's dangerous idea is seductively simple: all the complexity and diversity we witness around us can be explained by natural selection, a mindless and algorithmic process. Yet it is so easy to miss the subtle implications and misapply the knowledge, some of recent history's brightest minds (including professional evolutionary biologists!) have fallen in confusion. Fortunately Dennett has turned his illuminating attention on the problem. With his keen wit and conversational style he proves to be a masterful sightseeing guide on the incredible and exciting journey begun by Darwin. Truly inspiring, I highly recommend it to all Virions.
— David McFadzean

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