At the beginning of Kinds of Minds Dennett asks, "What kinds of minds are there? And how do we know?" These two questions--the first ontological, the second epistemological--set the agenda for the book. Intuitions untutored by theory are not capable of answering these questions, Dennett argues, making it necessary to pursue insight from the evolutionary point of view. Accordingly, subsequent chapters are devoted to phylogenetic speculations about agency and intentionality, sensitivity and sentience, and perception and behavior. Particularly charming is the series of squiggly amoebas--the Darwinian, Skinnerian, Popperian, and Gregorian creatures--that illustrates the hierarchy of cognitive power. In the final chapter, Dennett returns to the original two questions, ending not with their answers, but, he hopes, with "better versions of the questions themselves." --Glenn Branch
Dennett's recommendations for further reading are especially good.
Sadly, I am left with the impression Dennett had a book contract to honor and filled 168 pages with off the cuff rhetoric rather than substantive, concrete science.
I had never thought about these qualitatively different "levels of sophistication," but they make perfect sense to me -- kind of an "Aha!" experience.
Dennett is such a deep thinker and knows his topics so well but what makes him so readable is his gorgeous way of communicating. Sentences like a sting of pearls. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rob0bOy
I started the book with unrealistic expectations and found it did not hold my interest as I had hoped. Can't really rate it since I didn't finish it.Published 8 months ago by Judith A. Jacobson
One of the most important books I have ever read about understanding consciousness. I love Dennett's humility at the end when he proposes not so much to have the answers but... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Roman Z. Ramsey
Dennet's project to explain consciousness is refreshingly clear and coherent (not a trait of all philosophers, especially the one's I tend to focus on). Read morePublished 9 months ago by Wayne
Daniel Clement Dennett III (born 1942) is an American philosopher and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science; he has... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Steven H Propp
The book is dedicated to topics that fascinate me: what does it mean to have a consciousness or even sentience (which is more than just senses)? Which animals have them, if a all? Read morePublished 18 months ago by Evgene Fainstain
Dennett strikes out to explore the question of what exactly is a mind. Early in the book, he points out that your mind is the only thing that you can observe from within, while... Read morePublished on December 21, 2011 by Gleb Kuznetov
Dennett is methodical when defining terms and constructing his arguments for the `intentional stance'. Read morePublished on June 14, 2011 by Nigel Kirk
To the question, "Where does human consciousness come from?", somebody (I think it may have been William James) answered, "From animal consciousness. Read morePublished on August 18, 2007 by meadowreader