BELFAST — Daniel C. Dennett, one of the most celebrated philosophers of our time, will speak on “Consciousness: Illusion or Mystery” on Saturday, Aug.18, at 3 p.m. in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library, 106 High St. Dennett, professor of philosophy and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, is a prolific writer, thinker and speaker, and a giant in the field of cognitive science and philosophy. He is known to many as one of the “Four Horsemen of Atheism,” the others being Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and (now deceased) Christopher Hutchens. Dennett is the author of more than a dozen books, including the 1991 best seller “Consciousness Explained,” which argues that the human brain is a type of computer. His latest book, “From Bacteria To Bach And Back: The Evolution Of Minds,” poses the question, “How come there are minds? And how is it possible for minds to ask and answer that question?
Dennett writes in his book “Consciousness Explained,” “Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery.”
Last year in a radio interview, he said, “Consciousness is certainly the highlight of the human mind but it’s not quite so magical and mysterious as a lot of people think. For a lot of people, if you don’t mean something almost supernatural by ‘consciousness’ then you’re not talking about ‘consciousness.’ For 50 years, I’ve been trying to argue, no. It’s just the greatest, gee-whiz marvel of all, but it’s not supernatural and it’s not immaterial. We can explain it all in terms of what’s going on in brains and the things out in the world that those brains are responding to.”
On Saturday, Aug. 18, Dennett will explain why he thinks consciousness is more of an illusion than a mystery.
The event is co-hosted by Old Professor’s Bookshop in Belfast, The Camden Philosophical Society, and the Midcoast Exploration of Consciousness.