School of Politics, Philosophy, & Public Affairs

Frank Fraser Potter Memorial Lecture

Daniel C. Dennett

The author of Breaking the Spell (2006), Freedom Evolves (2003), and Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Daniel C. Dennett studies issues related to the mind in the quest for answers to life's large questions about human essence and origin.

A longtime champion of cognitive science—the interdisciplinary study of the mind and intelligence—Dennett works at the junction of philosophy and the fields of psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology, computer science, and biology.

David Shier, chair of the WSU philosophy department, said, "Dennett's work is primarily concerned with the possibility of constructing naturalistic, evolutionary explanations of phenomena that have been widely thought to resist explanation in these terms, such as consciousness, cognition, and even religion."

The son of a historian by the same name, Dennett received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1963 and his doctoral degree from Oxford University in 1965. He taught at the University of California, Irvine, before joining the Tufts faculty in 1971.

In addition to his books, Dennett is the author of more than 300 scholarly articles appearing in a broad range of journals, including Artificial Intelligence, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Poetics Today, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.

Dennett is the recipient of 2 Guggenheim fellowships, a Fulbright fellowship, and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987.

Photo: Daniel Dennett



Potter Memorial Lecture
Daniel C. Dennett presents "From Animal to Human: How Cultural Evolution Builds Human Minds," September 11, 2008
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