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Daniel C. Dennett

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. He is the author of Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (MIT Press, 2005, 2006) and other books.

Titles by This Author

Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind

Some things are funny—jokes, puns, sitcoms, Charlie Chaplin, The Far Side, Malvolio with his yellow garters crossed—but why? Why does humor exist in the first place? Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks, watching The Simpsons? In Inside Jokes, Matthew Hurley, Daniel Dennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective. Humor, they propose, evolved out of a computational problem that arose when our long-ago ancestors were furnished with open-ended thinking.

Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness

In the years since Daniel Dennett's influential Consciousness Explained was published in 1991, scientific research on consciousness has been a hotly contested battleground of rival theories—"so rambunctious," Dennett observes, "that several people are writing books just about the tumult." With Sweet Dreams, Dennett returns to the subject for "revision and renewal" of his theory of consciousness, taking into account major empirical advances in the field since 1991 as well as recent theoretical challenges.

Essays on Designing Minds

How are we able to understand each other in our daily interactions? Through the use of such "folk" concepts as belief, desire, intention, and expectation, Daniel Dennett asserts in this first full scale presentation of a theory of intentionality that he has been developing for almost twenty years. We adopt a stance, a predictive strategy of interpretation that presupposes the rationality of the people - or other entities - we are hoping to understand and predict.

The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology

This collection of 17 essays by the author offers a comprehensive theory of mind, encompassing traditional issues of consciousness and free will. Using careful arguments and ingenious thought-experiments, the author exposes familiar preconceptions and hobbling institutions. The essays are grouped into four sections: Intentional Explanation and Attributions of Mentality; The Nature of Theory in Psychology; Objects of Consciousness and the Nature of Experience; and Free Will and Personhood.