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Darwin's Dangerous Idea Evolution and the Meanings of Life

ISBN-10: 068482471X
ISBN-13: 9780684824710
Edition: 1996
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Description: In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo ofThe Boston Globecalls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.00
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 6/12/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 592
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.628
Language: English

In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo ofThe Boston Globecalls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.

Matthew M. Hurley is currently researching teleology and agency at the Center for Research onConcepts and Cognition at Indiana University.Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy atTufts University. He is the author of Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Scienceof Consciousness (MIT Press) and other books.

Preface
Starting in the Middle
Tell Me Why
Is Nothing Sacred?
What, Where, When, Why -- and How?
Locke's "Proof" of the Primacy of Mind
Hume's Close Encounter
An Idea Is Born
What Is So Special About Species?
Natural Selection -- an Awful Stretcher
Did Darwin Explain the Origin of Species?
Natural Selection as an Algorithmic Process
Processes as Algorithms
Universal Acid
Early Reactions
Darwin's Assault on the Cosmic Pyramid
The Principle of the Accumulation of Design
The Tools for R and D: Skyhooks or Cranes?
Who's Afraid of Reductionism?
The Tree of Life
How Should We Visualize the Tree of Life?
Color-coding a Species on the Tree
Retrospective Coronations: Mitochondrial Eve and Invisible Beginnings
Patterns, Oversimplification, and Explanation
The Possible and the Actual
Grades of Possibility?
The Library of Mendel
The Complex Relation Between Genome and Organism
Possibility Naturalized
Threads of Actuality in Design Space
Drifting and Lifting Through Design Space
Forced Moves in the Game of Design
The Unity of Design Space
Darwinian Thinking in Biology
Priming Darwin' s Pump
Back Beyond Darwin's Frontier
Molecular Evolution
The Laws of the Game of Life
Eternal Recurrence -- Life Without Foundations?
Biology Is Engineering
The Sciences of the Artificial
Darwin Is Dead -- Long Live Darwin!
Function and Specification
Original Sin and the Birth of Meaning
The Computer That Learned to Play Checkers
Artifact Hermeneutics, or Reverse Engineering
Stuart Kauffman as Meta-Engineer
Searching for Quality
The Power of Adaptationist Thinking
The Leibnizian Paradigm
Playing with Constraints
Bully for Brontosaurus
The Boy Who Cried Wolf?
The Spandrel's Thumb
Punctuated Equilibrium: A Hopeful Monster
Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Burgess Shale Double-Play Mystery
Controversies Contained
A Clutch of Harmless Heresies
Three Losers: Teilhard, Lamarck, and Directed Mutation
Cui Bono?
Mind, Meaning, Mathematics, and Morality
The Cranes of Culture
The Monkey's Uncle Meets the Meme
Invasion of the Body-Snatchers
Could There Be a Science of Memetics?
The Philosophical Importance of Memes
Losing Out Minds to Darwin
The Role of Language in Intelligence
Chomsky Contra Darwin: Four Episodes
Nice Tries
The Evolution of Meanings
The Quest for Real Meaning
Two Black Boxes
Blocking the Exits
Safe Passage to the Future
The Emperor's New Mind, and Other Fables
The Sword in the Stone
The Library of Toshiba
The Phantom Quantum-Gravity Computer: Lessons from Lapland
On the Origin of Morality
E Pluribus Unum?
Friedrich Nietzsche's Just So Stories
Some Varieties of Greedy Ethical Reductionism
Sociobiology: Good and Bad, Good and Evil
Redesigning Morality
Can Ethics Be Naturalized?
Judging the Competition
The Moral First Aid Manual
The Future of an Idea
In Praise of Biodiversity
Universal Acid: Handle with Care
Appendix
Bibliography
Index

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