Friday, November 3, 2017

Edward Feser Reviews Daniel Dennett's New Stupidity "From Bacteria to Bach and Back"

The master fallacy that underlies Dennett's entire book, however, is enshrined in the conceit that "many of the puzzles...of human consciousness evaporate once you ask how they could possibly have arisen-and actually try to answer the question!"  What this means, the reader discovers, is that whenever Dennett  finds some aspect of the mind that materialism cannot account for-design or purpose in the literal sense, the self, free will, meaning, subjective conscious experience-he concludes, not that materialism is false, but that the aspect in question must not be real after all.

For Daniel Dennett, what is real is only what materialism can explain. Materialism is true, he reasons, because it can explain everything there is to explain about the mind; and what it cannot explain must not really be there, he concludes, because materialism is true. From Bacteria to Bach and Back is Dennett's demonstration that he can stay on this merry-go-round for hundreds of pages without getting dizzy.

Darwin famously described On the Origin of Species as “one long argument.” Dennett’s bloated tome is essentially one long circular argument.-

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