Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I just got three books in the mail:

-- Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett, which has to be one of the most arrogant titles in history (right after Nietzsche's autobiography Ecce Homo). I've heard Dennett's critics call it Consciousness Explained Away or Consciousness Ignored. I was reading his Brainstorms several months ago, which is an essay collection, and now that I have this, I'm thinking I should first read his earliest book Content and Consciousness, which I think was adapted from his Doctoral dissertation, then go back to Brainstorms, then Consciousness Explained in order to see the progression of his thought.

-- Impact Parameter and Other Quantum Realities by Geoffrey A. Landis. I read his novel Mars Crossing a few years ago and liked it. This is a collection of his short stories that I've been wanting ever since.

-- The Complete Venus Equilateral by George O. Smith. This is also a collection of short stories, written in the 1940s, that are all set on a space station at the Venus-Sun L4 Lagrangian point. The station functions as a relay station for the whole solar system, making sure that all points remain in contact. I've been wanting this one for a while too.

Incidentally, I have a widget on my sidebar that shows the books that I'm currently reading. I don't include science-fiction, partially because I'll sometimes go through a whole book before I have a chance to get to a computer and add it. So the books on the sidebar don't include the sci-fi I'm reading. Just FYI.


unkleE said...

I'd be interested to read your reaction to Dennett on consciousness and free will. I'm not a philosopher, so my reaction is no doubt naive, but I tried to read two of his books (one was 'Elbow Room', I think the other was 'Consciousness Explained') some time ago, and I found that although I could understand every word and every sentence, I couldn't seem to get any real flow of thought through each chapter and from one chapter to the next. I felt like it was verbiage without meaning or explanation, and certainly without truth.

Perhaps you'll be able to 'wise me up'!?

Jim S. said...

I've never had that sense when reading Dennett, his writing seems to me to have a uniting point, a flow. Having said that, I think I know what you're talking about: I get the impression that he has a lot of mini-lectures, atheistic pericopes, which he re-organizes for his various papers and books, and the order of them is not that important. I heard a philosopher at a conference once say Dennett publishes the same book every few years.