Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dan Dennett's intuition pumps are leaking

"Intuition Pumps" is the name of Dennett's latest book. I probably should put "latest" in scare quotes because, like about anything he's written in the last decade, there's probably little new in it.

That said, it looks like the most subtly snarky of the original Four Horsemen of Gnu Atheism* hasn't lost that touch!

His new book, Intuition Pumps, seems like it is more of the same. Emmy van Duerzen has a good take on it, even if a bit too existential for me.

That said, while her review is more in depth, it's less scathing than this one by Eric Banks.

* I say this legitimately, with a couple of specific issues in mind.

First is Dennett's invention of the word "brights" for secularists, especially fellow Gnus. That was followed by his denial that he was implying religious believers were "dims" or anything similar. Hey, philosophers lie all the time, as well as attacking one another. (See "Wittgenstein's Poker" for the latter.) But they're usually less bald-faced in the lie levels.

Second is his hurling of the charge of "greedy reductionism" against others, while using that, either consciously or unconsciously, as a defense mechanism while refusing to look in the mirror and admit the same applies to him.

There's another good takedown here. And a longer blog post by me about both his and Doug Hofstadter's new books is here.