Customer Reviews


25 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 20 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 23 months ago by Peter McClintock

versus
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dennett's "greatest hits" rather than a "how to" book.
While it's presented as a book of "tools for thinking", it would be more accurately described as a Daniel Dennett reader. He does present some basic heuristics for critically appraising other people's arguments in the first chapter. Most are fairly basic and there are not that many surprises, but it's worthwhile. In later chapters, he then goes on himself to...
Published 12 months ago by Mr Nobody


Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars myth busting, uncomfortable, challenging, beliefs shaking, 25 July 2013
By 
JF Brouillet "verec" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Babel library is such a fine example, though the computer part should have either been left out, or approached (and deep dug into) from the "consciousness levels" perspective, not the VM's which is misleading. (the gulf between the concepts manipulated by a Lisp program as opposed to an assembly program is so wide and so easily categorised that leaving this out is a missed opportunity).

If your grey matter still has a few idle neurons, you should read this book: once your core beliefs are shattered, you won't see reality the same way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think so much that it hurts., 11 Aug. 2013
By 
Iosaiph (Gloucester, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mr Dennett's writing style is entertaining and illuminating even if the subject matter is difficult to get to grips with. There were a couple of epiphany moments in this book but it will require two or three reads, possibly more, for a casual philosopher like me to get to grips with all the points he makes. Compared to Mr Dennett and the intellectual circle within which he operates, I am like a caveman, squatting on the ground, pleased with myself for banging two rocks together to create the odd spark. Philosophy is important in the same way that science is, the two compliment each other, that seems to be the big message here and I agree.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sky hooks or Cranes ?, 11 Feb. 2014
By 
DSS (Turnipshire England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love Dennett I enjoy his lectures on YouTube and 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 quite a heavy going book in places, most of the book however is understandable and enlightening especially the chapter on "sphexishness", 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 and culturally. To use a Dennettism I "sorta" get it, I probably need to read this book again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intuition Pumps and Other tools for thinking., 23 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Makes you appreciate Dawkins...and Oasis, 9 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolving concepts, 5 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heavy going but worth the effort, 2 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought more out of curiosity when I heard an interview with the author on Radio 4 this was a tough but fascinating read. Definite food for thought.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book to read slowly, over time, 21 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Dennett is not everyone's taste, but this book stands a chance of giving you really new thoughts 1 2 3
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well and clearly written, 22 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Introduces a lot of ideas in an accessible way. The difficult bit is holding it all in your head at the same time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self-referential and smug., 5 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One of those books that keeps promising what it will show you, but shows little. It sometimes seems to have been written so Dennett can cite himself in the notes and auto-authorize his academic credentials. He thinks too much of himself and too little of others, including the reader.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews