I’ve tried to read Daniel Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back. But I’ve lost the plot, and given up quite early in the book. I seem to now find Dennett’s penchant for metaphors, claims that are “sorta” true, analogies, free-wheeling speculation, his having-his-cake-and-eating-it — perhaps long there in his work, but now out and proud — simply irritating. It’s all provoking but, for me, in quite the wrong way.
Yet it is possible to write about consciousness and neuropsychology and the brain with crisp clarity. Peter Carruthers, for example, repeatedly pulls it off. I’m not saying he is right, for I am in no position to judge: but he gives us detailed, very clearly formulated, evidently falsifiable, theories to assess. Not the sort of stuff to give him guru status, but all the better for it.
2 thoughts on “Dennett: losing the plot”
I know what you mean. Even among people who consider themselves Peirceans, I am constantly fighting a tide of Hegelian nonsense. I don’t think it’s a zeitgeist — I think it’s a fad.