I've Been Thinking
"How unfair for one man to be blessed with such a torrent of stimulating thoughts. Stimulating is an understatement." —Richard Dawkins
A memoir by one of the greatest minds of our age, preeminent philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel C. Dennett.
Daniel C. Dennett, preeminent philosopher and cognitive scientist, has spent his career considering the thorniest, most fundamental mysteries of the mind. Do we have free will? What is consciousness and how did it come about? What distinguishes human minds from the minds of animals? Dennett’s answers have profoundly shaped our age of philosophical thought. In I’ve Been Thinking, he reflects on his amazing career and lifelong scientific fascinations.
Dennett’s relentless curiosity has taken him from a childhood in Beirut and the classrooms of Harvard, Oxford, and Tufts, to “Cognitive Cruises” on sailboats and the fields and orchards of Maine, and to laboratories and think tanks around the world. Along the way, I’ve Been Thinking provides a master class in the dominant themes of twentieth-century philosophy and cognitive science—including language, evolution, logic, religion, and AI—and reveals both the mistakes and breakthroughs that shaped Dennett’s theories.
Key to this journey are Dennett’s interlocutors—Douglas Hofstadter, Marvin Minsky, Willard Van Orman Quine, Gilbert Ryle, Richard Rorty, Thomas Nagel, John Searle, Gerald Edelman, Stephen Jay Gould, Jerry Fodor, Rodney Brooks, and more—whose ideas, even when he disagreed with them, helped to form his convictions about the mind and consciousness. Studded with photographs and told with characteristic warmth, I’ve Been Thinking also instills the value of life beyond the university, one enriched by sculpture, music, farming, and deep connection to family.
Dennett compels us to consider: What do I really think? And what if I’m wrong? This memoir by one of the greatest minds of our time will speak to anyone who seeks to balance a life of the mind with adventure and creativity.
Praise for I've Been Thinking
A delightful memoir from one of our deepest thinkers.
— Kirkus (starred review)
Always an enthusiastic learner with an insatiable curiosity, Dennett’s amiable autodidacticism illustrates a life of the mind intertwined with the rich home life of a true Renaissance man. Highly recommended.
— Booklist (starred review)