How thinking tools populate our Brains
Turn them into Minds
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The Tufts Cognitive Science Colloquium Series
is proud to announce a talk by
Professor Daniel Dennett
(Bio & Abstract below)
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Date and time: Monday April 8, 4-5 PM.
No registration is required, but seats are limited: 100 (+/-).
Tufts University Medford Campus, Barnum Hall, Room 104
Daniel C. Dennett: Professor of Philosophy
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Abstract: A termite colony doesn’t really have a mind, but it does many clever, adaptive things, all somehow the result of the coordinated activities of thousands or even millions of quite clueless termites. A human brain is composed of perhaps a hundred billion clueless neurons (and many more other cells), and somehow the coordination of their activities produces a mind. But how much of the coordination is provided genetically, and how much by the acquisition of coordinating systems from the environment—specific languages, customs, practices, habits, fashions, techniques, and so forth? I will argue that our minds are as much the products of culture as the producers of culture. Did smart minds make culture or did culture make smart minds? As with most chicken-egg questions the answer is YES. It’s a coevolutionary process, and it shows a progression from Darwinian bottom-up design processes to ever more intelligent design.
Short Bio: Daniel C. Dennett, the author of Breaking the Spell (Viking, 2006), Freedom Evolves (Viking Penguin, 2003) and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Simon &Schuster, 1995), is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He lives with his wife in North Andover, Massachusetts, and has a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren. He was born in Boston in 1942, the son of a historian by the same name, and received his B.A. in philosophy from Harvard in 1963. He then went to Oxford to work with Gilbert Ryle, under whose supervision he completed the D.Phil. in philosophy in 1965. He taught at U.C. Irvine from 1965 to 1971, when he moved to Tufts, where he has taught ever since, aside from periods visiting at Harvard, Pittsburgh, Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the London School of Economics and the American University of Beirut.
His first book, Content and Consciousness, appeared in 1969, followed by Brainstorms (1978), Elbow Room (1984), The Intentional Stance (1987), Consciousness Explained (1991), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Kinds of Minds (1996), and Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays[masked] (MIT Press and Penguin, 1998). Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness, was published in 2005 by MIT Press. He co-edited The Mind's I with Douglas Hofstadter in 1981. He is the author of over three hundred scholarly articles on various aspects on the mind, published in journals ranging from Artificial Intelligence and Behavioral and Brain Sciences to Poetics Today and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.