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Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking Hardcover – May 6, 2013
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One of the most original thinkers of our time. --Michael Shermer"
The sharpest, cleverest, most stylish prober of how issues of human consciousness interconnect today with evolutionary theory. --Carlin Romano"
Once in a blue moon an analytic philosopher comes along who redeems his subdiscipline by combining professional persnicketiness with a romantic spirit, a vivid imagination, and a sense of humor One of our most original and most readable philosophers. --Richard Rorty"
Cloaked in the breezy, familiar trappings of a self-help book, Intuition Pumps is in actuality a dark mirror of that genre a field of rabbit holes designed to leave the reader with more questions than answers, and wiser for the long and indirect journey. --Jason Gots, author of BigThink"
Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with the simplest of tools, such as making mistakes. Dennett illuminates how making mistakes is not just ok but desirable since it's perhaps the only way to hone a system of thinking into a useful device. Other parts of the book cover concepts like reductio ad absurdum, Occam's Razor and the wittily-named Occam's Broom which is sometimes used nefariously to sweep arguments under the rug. There's a fair amount of ground Dennett covers before he gets to the concept stated in the book's name - intuition pumps. Intuition pumps refer to anything - from thought experiments to linguistic devices - that somehow make us bypass the process of rigorous thinking and reach a revelation primarily through intuition. One of the virtues of the book is how it describes examples of both good and bad intuition pumps including sleights of hand used by politicians and pseudoscientists. I was quite impressed by Dennett's attention to even very simple tools invoked through common expressions; for instance one of the fallacies he describes is the use of the word "rather" that's routinely used to set up a false dichotomy.Read more ›
I was jarred by his repetitive use of the so-called sorta "operator", a neologism that Dennet believes does explanatory work, but appears to function mostly as a smoke screen that hides the complexity of what he is trying to explain. To Dennett, when he places the word sorta in front of an object, action, or almost anything at all, it (the word sorta) meaningfully transforms that thing into something else. For example, there are monkeys, and then there are sorta monkeys. Sorta monkeys fall short of being monkeys in some way--they are different than monkeys--but Dennett demands that this difference, while actual, cannot be made rigorous. There is no systematic, logical dividing line between monkeys and sorta monkeys, yet somehow we all know the difference.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
IP&... gets off to a slow(ish) start (as Dennett books go). But once it starts gaining momentum -- as Dennett turns to questions of life, mind, and morality -- it really takes... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Librum
I'm a huge Dennett fan, but this is a really boring book. He's great when he tackles the hardest problems of philosophy and life, but in this book he doesn't tackle any problems... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Marc Ringuette
Imagine you are cornered by a pompous Uncle Christmas afternoon who, with a smirk and a chuckle, tells you to sit down and listen up, because hes seen it all, read it all, thought... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gordon McQueen
Very intellectual book, but I'm not sure it was really warranted. This definitely isn't going to be very comprehendible for laymen, and he speaks in very math-y computer science-y... Read morePublished 3 months ago by dazzle
Before talking about the book, i'd like to share my mentally coming into the book which in some way illuminates some reasons to why I was interested in reading it in the first... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mike Morgenstein