Daniel C. Dennett

Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor Codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness; Elbow Room: The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (all published by the MIT Press), From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Mind, and other books.

  • Brainstorms, Fortieth Anniversary Edition

    Brainstorms, Fortieth Anniversary Edition

    Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology

    Daniel C. Dennett

    An anniversary edition of a classic in cognitive science, with a new introduction by the author.

    When Brainstorms was published in 1978, the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science was just emerging. Daniel Dennett was a young scholar who wanted to get philosophers out of their armchairs—and into conversations with psychologists, linguists, computer scientists. This collection of seventeen essays by Dennett 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 intuitions. 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.”

    This anniversary edition includes a new introduction by Dennett, “Reflections on Brainstorms after Forty Years,” in which he recalls the book's original publication by Harry and Betty Stanton of Bradford Books and considers the influence and afterlife of some of the essays. For example, “Mechanism and Responsibility” was Dennett's first articulation of his concept of the intentional stance; “Are Dreams Experiences?” anticipates the major ideas in his 1991 book Consciousness Explained; and “Where Am I?” has been variously represented in a BBC documentary, a student's Javanese shadow puppet play, and a feature-length film made in the Netherlands, Victim of the Brain.

    • Paperback $34.95 £27.00
  • Elbow Room, New Edition

    Elbow Room, New Edition

    The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

    Daniel C. Dennett

    A landmark book in the debate over free will that makes the case for compatibilism.

    In this landmark 1984 work on free will, Daniel Dennett makes a case for compatibilism. His aim, as he writes in the preface to this new edition, was a cleanup job, “saving everything that mattered about the everyday concept of free will, while jettisoning the impediments.” In Elbow Room, Dennett argues that the varieties of free will worth wanting—those that underwrite moral and artistic responsibility—are not threatened by advances in science but distinguished, explained, and justified in detail.

    Dennett tackles the question of free will in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of fields that range from physics and evolutionary biology to engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence. He shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the “family of anxieties” in which they are often enmeshed—imaginary agents and bogeymen, including the Peremptory Puppeteer, the Nefarious Neurosurgeon, and the Cosmic Child Whose Dolls We Are. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, he concludes that we can have free will and science too. He explores reason, control and self-control, the meaning of “can” and “could have done otherwise,” responsibility and punishment, and why we would want free will in the first place. A fresh reading of Dennett's book shows how much it can still contribute to current discussions of free will.

    This edition includes as its afterword Dennett's 2012 Erasmus Prize essay.

    • Paperback $22.95 £17.99
  • Inside Jokes

    Inside Jokes

    Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind

    Matthew M. Hurley, Daniel C. Dennett, and Reginald B. Adams, Jr.

    An evolutionary and cognitive account of the addictive mind candy that is humor.

    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. Mother Nature—aka natural selection—cannot just order the brain to find and fix all our time-pressured misleaps and near-misses. She has to bribe the brain with pleasure. So we find them funny. This wired-in source of pleasure has been tickled relentlessly by humorists over the centuries, and we have become addicted to the endogenous mind candy that is humor.

    • Hardcover $33.00 £22.95
    • Paperback $20.95 £16.99
  • Sweet Dreams

    Sweet Dreams

    Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness

    Daniel C. Dennett

    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.

    In Consciousness Explained, Dennett proposed to replace the ubiquitous but bankrupt Cartesian Theater model (which posits a privileged place in the brain where "it all comes together" for the magic show of consciousness) with the Multiple Drafts Model. Drawing on psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and artificial intelligence, he asserted that human consciousness is essentially the mental software that reorganizes the functional architecture of the brain. In Sweet Dreams, he recasts the Multiple Drafts Model as the "fame in the brain" model, as a background against which to examine the philosophical issues that "continue to bedevil the field."

    With his usual clarity and brio, Dennett enlivens his arguments with a variety of vivid examples. He isolates the "Zombic Hunch" that distorts much of the theorizing of both philosophers and scientists, and defends heterophenomenology, his "third-person" approach to the science of consciousness, against persistent misinterpretations and objections. The old challenge of Frank Jackson's thought experiment about Mary the color scientist is given a new rebuttal in the form of "RoboMary," while his discussion of a famous card trick, "The Tuned Deck," is designed to show that David Chalmers's Hard Problem is probably just a figment of theorists' misexploited imagination. In the final essay, the "intrinsic" nature of "qualia" is compared with the naively imagined "intrinsic value" of a dollar in "Consciousness—How Much is That in Real Money?"

    • Hardcover $30.00 £20.95
    • Paperback $22.95 £17.99
  • Brainchildren

    Brainchildren

    Essays on Designing Minds

    Daniel C. Dennett

    A new collection of wide-ranging essays from one of cognitive science's most distingushed figures.

    Minds are complex artifacts, partly biological and partly social; only a unified, multidisciplinary approach will yield a realistic theory of how they came into existence and how they work. One of the foremost workers in this multidisciplinary field is Daniel Dennett. This book brings together his essays on the philosphy of mind, artificial intelligence, and cognitive ethology that appeared in inaccessible journals from 1984 to 1996. Highlights include "Can Machines Think?," "The Unimagined Preposterousness of Zombies," "Artificial Life as Philosophy," and "Animal Consciousness: What Matters and Why." Collected in a single volume, the essays are now available to a wider audience.

    • Hardcover $15.75 £11.95
    • Paperback $32.00 £25.00
  • HAL's Legacy

    HAL's Legacy

    2001's Computer as Dream and Reality

    Daniel C. Dennett, Ravi Iyer, David Kuck, Raymond Kurzweil, Doug Lenat, Joseph Olive, Rosalind W. Picard, Azriel Rosenfeld, Roger Schank, David G. Stork, and David Wilkins

    How science fiction's most famous computer has influenced the research and design of intelligent machines.

    I became operational... in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997.

    Inspired by HAL's self-proclaimed birth date, HAL's Legacy reflects upon science fiction's most famous computer and explores the relationship between science fantasy and technological fact. The informative, nontechnical chapters written especially for this book describe many of the areas of computer science critical to the design of intelligent machines, discuss whether scientists in the 1960s were accurate about the prospects for advancement in their fields, and look at how HAL has influenced scientific research.

    Contributions by leading scientists look at the technologies that would be critical if we were, as Arthur Clarke and Stanley Kubrick imagined thirty years ago, to try and build HAL in 1997: supercomputers, fault-tolerance and reliability, planning, artificial intelligence, lipreading, speech recognition and synthesis, commonsense reasoning, the ability to recognize and display emotion, and human-machine interaction. A separate chapter by philosopher Daniel Dennett considers the ethical implications of intelligent machines.

    • Hardcover $42.95 £31.95
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00
  • The Intentional Stance

    The Intentional Stance

    Daniel C. Dennett

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

    These principles of radical interpretation have far-reaching implications for the metaphysical and scientific status of the processes referred to by the everday terms of folk psychology and their corresponding terms in cognitive science.While Dennett's philosophical stance has been steadfast over the years, his views have undergone successive enrichments, refinements, and extensions. The Intentional Stance brings together both previously published and original material: four of the book's ten chapters—its first and the final three—appear here for the first time and push the theory into surprising new territory. The remaining six were published earlier in the 1980s but were not easily accessible; each is followed by a reflection—an essay reconsidering and extending the claims of the earlier work. These reflections and the new chapters represent the vanguard of Dennett's thought. They reveal fresh lines of inquiry into fundamental issues in psychology, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary theory as well as traditional issues in the philosophy of mind.

    A Bradford Book.

    • Hardcover $60.00 £44.95
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00
  • Elbow Room

    Elbow Room

    The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting

    Daniel C. Dennett

    Anyone who has wondered if free will is just an illusion or has asked 'could I have chosen otherwise?' after performing some rash deed will find this book an absorbing discussion of an endlessly fascinating subject. Daniel Dennett, whose previous books include Brainstorms and (with Douglas Hofstadter) The Mind's I, tackles the free will problem in a highly original and witty manner, drawing on the theories and concepts of several fields usually ignored by philosophers; not just physics and evolutionary biology, but engineering, automata theory, and artificial intelligence.

    In Elbow Room, Dennett shows how the classical formulations of the problem in philosophy depend on misuses of imagination, and he disentangles the philosophical problems of real interest from the "family of anxieties' they get enmeshed in - imaginary agents, bogeymen, and dire prospects that seem to threaten our freedom. Putting sociobiology in its rightful place, he concludes that we can have free will and science too. Elbow Room begins by showing how we can be "moved by reasons" without being exempt from physical causation. It goes on to analyze concepts of control and self-control-concepts often skimped by philosophers but which are central to the questions of free will and determinism. A chapter on "self-made selves" discusses the idea of self or agent to see how it can be kept from disappearing under the onslaught of science. Dennett then sees what can be made of the notion of acting under the idea of freedomdoes the elbow room we think we have really exist? What is an opportunity, and how can anything in our futures be "up to us"? He investigates the meaning of "can" and "could have done otherwise," and asks why we want free will in the first place.We are wise, Dennett notes, to want free will, but that in itself raises a host of questions about responsibility. In a final chapter, he takes up the problem of how anyone can ever be guilty, and what the rationale is for holding people responsible and even, on occasion, punishing them.

    Elbow Room is an expanded version of the John Locke Lectures which Dennett gave at Oxford University in 1983.

    • Hardcover $22.50 £17.95
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00
  • Brainstorms

    Brainstorms

    Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology

    Daniel C. Dennett

    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.

    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.

    • Hardcover $33.00 £24.95
    • Paperback $36.00 £28.00

Contributor

  • Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Open MIND, 2-vol. set

    Philosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century

    Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer M. Windt

    A unique interdisciplinary collection of papers and commentaries by leading researchers and rising scholars, representing the latest research on consciousness, mind, and brain.

    This collection offers the most comprehensive collection on consciousness, brain, and mind available. It gathers 39 original papers by leaders in the field followed by commentaries written by emerging scholars and replies by the original paper's authors. Taken together, the papers, commentaries, and replies provide a cross-section of cutting-edge research in philosophy and cognitive science. Open MIND is an experiment in both interdisciplinary and intergenerational scholarship.

    Open MIND grows out of the MIND Group, an independent, international body of young philosophers and scientists with a strong interest in the mind, consciousness, and cognition. The original and supporting materials are available online at open-mind.net.

    Authors include Michael L. Anderson, Andreas Bartels, Tim Bayne, Christian Beyer, Ned Block, Paul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Carl S. Craver, Holk Cruse, Daniel C. Dennett, Jérôme Dokic, Chris Eliasmith, Kathinka Evers, Vittorio Gallese, Philip Gerrans, Rick Grush, John-Dylan Haynes, Heiko Hecht, J. Allan Hobson, Jakob Hohwy, Pierre Jacob, J. Scott Jordan, Victor Lamme, Bigna Lenggenhager, Caleb Liang, Richard Menary, Albert Newen, Alva Noë, Gerard O'Brien, Elisabeth Pacherie, Jesse Prinz, Joëlle Proust, Antti Revonsuo, Adina Roskies, Jonathan Schooler, Anil K. Seth, Wolf Singer, Evan Thompson, Ursula Voss, Kenneth Williford

    • Hardcover $285.00 £220.00
  • Structures in the Mind

    Structures in the Mind

    Essays on Language, Music, and Cognition in Honor of Ray Jackendoff

    Ida Toivonen, Piroska Csúri, and Emile Van Der Zee

    New research on different areas of cognition, focusing on language, with contributions that treat topics explored in Ray Jackendoff's pioneering research.

    This volume offers new research in cognitive science by leading scholars, exploring different areas of cognition with an emphasis on language. The contributions—in such fields as linguistic theory, psycholinguistics, evolution, and consciousness—reflect the thriving interdisciplinary scholarship in cognitive science today. Ray Jackendoff's pioneering cross-disciplinary work was instrumental in establishing the field, and Structures in the Mind, with contributions from Jackendoff's colleagues and former students, is a testament to his lasting influence.

    After an introduction that includes short reflections on Jackendoff's work by such scholars as Paul Bloom, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Partee, and Steven Pinker, the book presents chapters on linguistics, which build on Jackendoff's theories of conceptual semantics and parallel architectures; psycholinguistics, reaching from linguistics to psychology and neuroscience; and other topics as varied as the evolution of linguistic and musical abilities, consciousness, music theory, and the grammar of comics—with this particular chapter taking the form of a comic. The chapters present fresh data, bold claims, and stimulating theoretical discussions, offering a celebration of cognitive science today.

    Contributors Daniel Büring, Neil Cohn, Peter W. Culicover, Daniel Dennett, Cecily Jill Duffield, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Lila Gleitman, Jane Grimshaw, Yosef Grodzinsky, Katharina Hartmann, Albert Kim, Max Soowon Kim, Barbara Landau, Fred Lerdahl, Willem J. M. Levelt, Joan Maling, Bhuvana Narasimhan, Urpo Nikanne, Catherine O'Connor, Maria Mercedes Piñango, Daniel Silverman, Henk Verkuyl, Heike Wiese, Eva Wittenberg, Edgar B. Zurif, Joost Zwarts

    • Hardcover $58.00 £45.00
  • The Crucible of Consciousness

    The Crucible of Consciousness

    An Integrated Theory of Mind and Brain

    Zoltan Torey

    An interdisciplinary examination of the evolutionary breakthroughs that rendered the brain accessible to itself.

    In The Crucible of Consciousness, Zoltan Torey offers a theory of the mind and its central role in evolution. He traces the evolutionary breakthrough that rendered the brain accessible to itself and shows how the mind-boosted brain works. He identifies what it is that separates the human's self-reflective consciousness from mere animal awareness, and he maps its neural and linguistic underpinnings. And he argues, controversially, that the neural technicalities of reflective awareness can be neither algorithmic nor spiritual—neither a computer nor a ghost in the machine.

    The human mind is unique; it is not only the epicenter of our knowledge but also the outer limit of our intellectual reach. Not to solve the riddle of the self-aware mind, writes Torey, goes against the evolutionary thrust that created it. Torey proposes a model that brings into a single focus all the elements that make up the puzzle: how the brain works, its functional components and their interactions; how language evolved and how syntax evolved out of the semantic substrate by way of neural transactions; and why the mind-endowed brain deceives itself with entelechy-type impressions.

    Torey first traces the language-linked emergence of the mind, the subsystem of the brain that enables it to be aware of itself. He then explores this system: how consciousness works, why it is not transparent to introspection, and what sense it makes in the context of evolution.

    The “consciousness revolution” and the integrative focus of neuroscience have made it possible to make concrete formerly mysterious ideas about the human mind. Torey's model of the mind is the logical outcome of this, highlighting a coherent and meaningful role for a reflectively aware humanity.

    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00
  • Distributed Cognition and the Will

    Distributed Cognition and the Will

    Individual Volition and Social Context

    Don Ross, David Spurrett, Harold Kincaid, and G. Lynn Stephens

    Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditional concept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific discoveries that human decision-making is distributed across different brain processes and through the social environment.

    Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from “below” by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from “above” by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, if anything, of the traditional concept of the individual conscious will survives these discoveries, and they assess the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility. The contributors all take science seriously, and they are inspired by the idea that apparent threats to the cogency of the idea of will might instead become the basis of its reemergence as a scientific subject. They consider macro-scale issues of society and culture, the micro-scale dynamics of the mind/brain, and connections between macro-scale and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior.

    Contributors George Ainslie, Wayne Christensen, Andy Clark, Paul Sheldon Davies, Daniel C. Dennett, Lawrence A. Lengbeyer, Dan Lloyd, Philip Pettit, Don Ross, Tamler Sommers, Betsy Sparrow, Mariam Thalos, Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Daniel M. Wegner, Tadeusz W. Zawidzki

    • Hardcover $15.75 £13.95
    • Paperback $8.75 £6.99
  • Feeling Pain and Being in Pain, Second Edition

    Feeling Pain and Being in Pain, Second Edition

    Nikola Grahek

    An examination of the two most radical dissociation syndromes of the human pain experience—pain without painfulness and painfulness without pain—and what they reveal about the complex nature of pain and its sensory, cognitive, and behavioral components.

    In Feeling Pain and Being in Pain, Nikola Grahek examines two of the most radical dissociation syndromes to be found in human pain experience: pain without painfulness and painfulness without pain. Grahek shows that these two syndromes—the complete dissociation of the sensory dimension of pain from its affective, cognitive, and behavioral components, and its opposite, the dissociation of pain's affective components from its sensory-discriminative components (inconceivable to most of us but documented by ample clinical evidence)—have much to teach us about the true nature and structure of human pain experience.

    Grahek explains the crucial distinction between feeling pain and being in pain, defending it on both conceptual and empirical grounds. He argues that the two dissociative syndromes reveal the complexity of the human pain experience: its major components, the role they play in overall pain experience, the way they work together, and the basic neural structures and mechanisms that subserve them.

    Feeling Pain and Being in Pain does not offer another philosophical theory of pain that conclusively supports or definitively refutes either subjectivist or objectivist assumptions in the philosophy of mind. Instead, Grahek calls for a less doctrinaire and more balanced approach to the study of mind–brain phenomena.

    • Hardcover $32.00 £22.95
    • Paperback $24.00 £18.99
  • Disorders of Volition

    Disorders of Volition

    Natalie Sebanz and Wolfgang Prinz

    Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists examine the will and its pathologies from theoretical and empirical perspectives, offering a conceptual overview and discussing schizophrenia, depression, prefrontal lobe damage, and substance abuse as disorders of volition.

    Science tries to understand human action from two perspectives, the cognitive and the volitional. The volitional approach, in contrast to the more dominant "outside-in" studies of cognition, looks at actions from the inside out, examining how actions are formed and informed by internal conditions. In Disorders of Volition, scholars from a range of disciplines seek to advance our understanding of the processes supporting voluntary action by addressing conditions in which the will is impaired. Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, and psychiatrists examine the will and its pathologies from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, offering a conceptual overview and discussing specific neurological and psychiatric conditions as disorders of volition.After presenting different conceptual frameworks that identify agency, decision making, and goal pursuit as central components of volition, the book examines how impairments in these and other aspects of volition manifest themselves in schizophrenia, depression, prefrontal lobe damage, and substance abuse.

    Contributors George Ainslie, Tim Bayne, Antoine Bechara, Paul W. Burgess, Anna-Lisa Cohen, Daniel Dennett, Stéphanie Dubal, Philippe Fossati, Chris Frith, Sam J. Gilbert, Peter Gollwitzer, Jordan Grafman, Patrick Haggard, Jay G. Hull, Marc Jeannerod, Roland Jouvent, Frank Krueger, Neil Levy, Peter F. Liddle, Kristen L. Mackiewitz, Thomas Metzinger, Jack B. Nitschke, Jiro Okuda, Adrian M. Owen, Chris Parry, Wolfgang Prinz, Joëlle Proust, Michael A. Sayette, Werner X. Schneider, Natalie Sebanz, Jon S. Simons, Laurie B. Slone, Sean A. Spence

    • Hardcover $50.00 £37.95
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00