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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This is a great book for thinking about consciousness, meaning and thinking in general. It is quite thorough and requires some tenacity to cope with the detail; but well worth it. The Giant Robot thought experiment is particularly excellent, but you have to read what goes before to appreciate it.

Read this book and progress further in your quest to understand...
Published 10 months ago by Peter McClintock

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, but...
A useful book if you're looking for a range of methods to prime your intellectual pumps. Dennett is generally a good writer and this book is accessible and readable.

Perhaps it is too much like a compilation of techniques, many of them usefully collected together, but not usefully organised for application. The writing is a bit too breezy and perhaps at times...
Published 7 months ago by The Cognologist


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, but..., 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (Hardcover)
A useful book if you're looking for a range of methods to prime your intellectual pumps. Dennett is generally a good writer and this book is accessible and readable.

Perhaps it is too much like a compilation of techniques, many of them usefully collected together, but not usefully organised for application. The writing is a bit too breezy and perhaps at times pejorative.

I have had to extract the material and draw on my own use of these and other methods to turn them into methods I can use in my work (so they don't just stay as philosophical oddities or games philosophers play!). My charting of the methods in the book has been added to my own tool kit of analytical and methodological policy and problem solving tools.

If you're interested in collecting ideas, book is useful. If you actually want to use the book, you'll be disappointed. Having said that, if you feel stuck in a rut, then the book will at least show you there are many ways to get out, and perhaps in the end that is all many of us need. Sorry DD.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 20 Jun 2013
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This is a great book for thinking about consciousness, meaning and thinking in general. It is quite thorough and requires some tenacity to cope with the detail; but well worth it. The Giant Robot thought experiment is particularly excellent, but you have to read what goes before to appreciate it.

Read this book and progress further in your quest to understand more of life, the universe and everything.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sky hooks or Cranes ?, 11 Feb 2014
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D. S. Sample (Turnipshire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (Hardcover)
I love Dennett I enjoy his lectures on YouTube & TED but for some reason his usual well explained prose seemed to be lost on me , some chapters had to be re read so I could get the gist of his ideas , most of the book however is understandable & enlightening, lots of things to think about in this book , of course it is a book about thinking . Worth reading if you have some background knowledge of Dennetts philosophy's . Evolution affects every aspect of our lives , biologically & culturally . To use a Dennettism I "sorta" get it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good collection of methods to improve critical thinking, 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (Hardcover)
Most (or perhaps all) of Dennett's "Intuition Pumps" have been mentioned elsewhere by him. In fact he specifically mentions that he leaves out some of the most popular since they have already been covered in so much detail elsewhere.

As always though, Dennett provides a thought provoking and fascinating read. He's also extremely fair, pointing out when others disagree with him and giving references for further reading.

Though the book is a collection of tools, thought experiments and other ways to improve your critical thinking abilities, I would recommend reading it from start to finish - at least the first time - rather than dipping in and out to bits that look interesting. This is simply because he lays groundwork earlier to be used in the discussion of problems and their solutions later. Jumping around between chapters (however tempting) may mean you miss out on some of these connections.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intuition Pumps and Other tools for thinking., 23 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (Hardcover)
I loved Dennett's book Darwin's Brilliant idea. He is very technical but usually explains things for the average person. This started off well, but then got rather complicated and he "pumps" in lots of theories. I will have to re-read it to absorb it all.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Makes you appreciate Dawkins...and Oasis, 9 April 2014
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As a student, I was disparaging of the Selfish Gene. The ideas were not original and the tone was that of an Oxford smarty-pants. Now I realise that Dawkins spotted that a lot of new ideas appearing at the time came together in a revolutionary way. He spotted that, put them together and gave them a snappy name, which had a big, and original, impact. I can now overlook the Oxford tone.

It is unavoidable to compare all popular science books to the Selfish Gene, and the overblown title of Dennett's book makes it fair game. I imagine an agent saying, 'time for a new book, Papa needs a new pair of shoes, just toss together those scraps, public they likey scrappies, call Dawkins a genius and he'll write a puff for the cover and kerching!'

It is probably a service to introduce new generations to the great, old, ideas, so books like this are fine in principle. But this book manages to make the whole less than the sum of the parts. For example, Borges' short story, the Library of Babel, provides a fascinating and powerful insight into the idea of infinity: the question of the relationship between differences in DNA and the differences we see between species is fascinating. But here they are shoved together to form some ghastly meaningless chimera leaving me asking, 'how did nobody notice this abomination?' And we are constantly reminded of the genesis of this book as collected scraps by, for example, an account of how automation can replace human elevator operators. This illustrates what? Nothing.

Still, I have hope that perhaps a smart, curious teenager with a short attention span may find it useful to learn the names of some ideas that can usefully be explored on Wikipedia.

But the best thing about this book is it makes you realise how good Haldane, Dawkins, Stewart, Jones at al. really are. It's like Oasis. They were slagged off for stealing 'I'd like to teach the world to sing' note-for-note for their song Shakermaker. But they turned a saccharine pop ditty into a raw piece of rock and roll, awesome and original. Dennett has achieved the pop science equivalent of doing the opposite.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking and clear, 14 July 2013
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J. Forse "John Forse" (UK) - See all my reviews
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A brilliant account by a biologically accomplished philosopher of the tricks of thought used by proponents of theories of conciousness and the mind. Requires detailed attention but the reward make this book worth that effort
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolving concepts, 5 Nov 2013
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This is a book about thought experiments. Dennett uses the notion to cover many of his philosophical ideas and to elucidate their connection with those of Richard Dawkins. He distinguishes between correct and biased thought experiments and gives details of both. This distinction could have been explored further, especially considering that Dennett's agenda is to largely support his own work with examples.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book to read slowly, over time, 21 Oct 2013
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Dennett is not everyone's taste, but this book stands a chance of giving you really new thoughts 1 2 3
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear approach to modern thinking, 28 July 2013
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This is well and clearly written and puts together some very interesting arguments about the way that complex systems can evolve from simple parts, and how consciousness could emerge from simple biology. It also challenges us to think about what we actually mean by consciousness
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Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel C Dennett (Hardcover - 6 May 2013)
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