Daniel C. Dennett

University Professor, Tufts University; Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University; Co-Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies.

Greenland Phil Wickens dcd

Title: “The Pendulum of Possibilities.”
Abstract: How smart are animals? It depends on the species, of course, and recent research has surprised us in both directions. “Romantic” investigators set out to demonstrate how clever a species is, while skeptical “killjoy” investigators design experiments to expose unexpected cluelessness. Both “sides” have their successes and failures, and the failures are often more informative, so the disagreements are fruitful generators of knowledge. Science itself doesn’t take sides: our attitudes towards animals should be informed by whatever we can learn about animal minds, not by traditional myths or oversimplifications.


Bio: Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor and Co-director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University. He is the author of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995) and Kinds of Minds (1996), the 1983 Behavioral and Brain Sciences Target Article, “Intentional Systems in Cognitive Ethology:the Panglossian Paradigm Defended,” and most recently, Intuition Pumps and other Tools for Thinking (2013).


Animal Consciousness: Evidence and Implications

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