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unidentifiedflyingobject's picture

An overview of Dennett

Overall, Dennett's book has some undeniably positive qualities: he writes well and passionately, and he is capable of reaching a much wider audience than most philosophers. I think he is saying something that he thinks needs to be said bluntly, without "beating around the bush:" that despite all our efforts to preserve culture, the world is changing, and rapidly, and we must adjust to those changes and better ourselves in the process. Dennett wants to destroy skyhooks because he believes that they cause more harm than good.

My response is that I think Dennett's skyhook and crane are perhaps only divisions in human thinking. Maybe all humans think in terms of skyhooks and cranes; we may have our linear algebra, but we also have our Lord of the Rings. In Dennett's conclusion, where he rants extensively about the evils of religion, he misses what I see as the truth: religion, or "skyhooks" if you will, does not cause Earth's problems. People do.

One last thing--I think we failed to address in my section is the difference between "Jurassic Park skyhooks" and religious "skyhooks." Our discussions of fantasy, and how we felt like Dennett was stomping on things that didn't need to be stomped on, ultimately only referred to Santa Claus and TV medical dramas. I guess what I'm trying to say is, no self-respecting religious person is going to tell you, "Look, I know God isn't REALLY real, I just didn't want you to point it out." I'd be interested in having my mother read Dennett and see how she responds to him.

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