Daniel Dennett’s philosophical achievements cannot be neatly summarized. To some, he’s familiar as one of the four horsemen of new atheism, alongside Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.
By Olivia Goldhill | QUARTZ
He’s known for his focus on Darwinism, and applying the evolutionary theory to ideas and cultural development. And he’s one of the greatest living philosophers of the mind, arguing that consciousness requires no magic other than the physical mechanics of the brain, that similarly complex robots would be equally conscious, and that the “self,” or ego, does not exist.
But Dennett, who spoke at this year’s Association of the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference in Buenos Aires, is unimpressed with many of his contemporaries in philosophy.
“A great deal of philosophy doesn’t really deserve much of a place of the world,” he says. “Philosophy in some quarters has become self-indulgent, clever play in a vacuum that’s not dealing of problems of any intrinsic interest.”