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| 08-03-2009 14:32Darwin's Dangerous Idea

evolution and the meanings of life

Daniel C. Dennett (1995)
Wikipedia: book, author

In this controversial book Dennett tries to convinve the reader that Darwinism (the belief that evolution by natural selection is the sole explanation of the variety of species on earth) can be applied to many other fields of Research and Design. According to Dennett, it comes with assumptions on the workings of physics, the universe and of consciousness. The most interesting concepts are evolution as an algorithm without a goal, 'cranes' versus 'skyhooks' (feasible versus magical explanations of progress in evolution) and the undesirability of essentialism. Essentialism comes down to the belief that there are sharp categories, like 'human' vs. 'non-human' or 'conscious' vs. 'not consciousness'. According to Dennett all such categories are very fuzzy, not crisp, and have been introduced as a way to understand reality by us, but they are not truly there in the world.

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