Life itself is just a thin coat of paint on the planet, and we hold the paintbrush.

— Daniel Dennett

The most sentimental Daniel Dennett quotes that will activate your inner potential

The idea that God is a worthy recipient of our gratitude for the blessings of life but should not be held accountable for the disasters is a transparently disingenuous innovation of the theologians.

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You don't get to advertise all the good that your religion does without first scrupulously subtracting all the harm it does and considering seriously the question of whether some other religion, or no religion at all, does better.

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The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them-especially not from yourself.

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Daniel Dennett quote The chief trick to making good mistakes

The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them - especially not from yourself.

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Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery.

.. a topic that often leaves even the most sophisticated thinkers tongue-tied and confused. And, as with all of the earlier mysteries, there are many who insist - and hope - that there will never be a demystification of consciousness.

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Are zombies possible? They're not just possible, they're actual.

We're all zombies. Nobody is conscious — not in the systematically mysterious way that supports such doctrines as epiphenomenalism. *It would be an act of desperate intellectual dishonesty to quote this assertion out of context!

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The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore so it eats it!

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There are no forces on this planet more dangerous to all of us than the fanaticisms of fundamentalism.

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A child raised on a desert island, alone, without social interaction, without language, and thus lacking empathy, is still a sentient being.

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There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly.

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No matter how smart you are, you're smarter if you take the easy ways when they are available.

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I think religion for many people is some sort of moral viagra.

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The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them - especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial when you make a mistake, you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which in a way they are.

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About Daniel Dennett

Quotes 127 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Philosopher
Birthday October 16

We need to let our children grow up to face the world armed with knowledge, with much more knowledge than we ourselves had at their age. It is scary, but the alternative is worse.

22

It's a no win situation. It's a mug's game. The religions have contrived to make it impossible to disagree with them critically without being rude. They play the hurt feelings card at every opportunity.

17

It stands to reason that we love chocolate cake because it is sweet.

Guys go for girls like this because they are sexy. We adore babies because they're so cute. And, of course, we are amused by jokes because they are funny. This is all backwards. It is. And Darwin shows us why.

16

True, you don't have to be religious to be crazy, but it helps.

Indeed, if you are religious, you don't have to be crazy in the medically certifiable sense in order to do massively crazy things.

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Some philosophers can't bear to say simple things, like "Suppose a dog bites a man." They feel obliged instead to say, "Suppose a dog d bites a man m at time t," thereby demonstrating their unshakable commitment to logical rigor, even though they don't go on to manipulate any formulae involving d, m, and t.

13

Philosophers are never quite sure what they are talking about - about what the issues really are - and so often it takes them rather a long time to recognize that someone with a somewhat different approach (or destination, or starting point) is making a contribution.

11

The evidence for evolution pours in, not only from geology, paleontology, biogeography, and anatomy, but of course from molecular biology and every other branch of the life sciences.

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Religion is defined as social systems whose participants avow a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought.

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Darwin's idea of natural selection makes people uncomfortable because it reverses the direction of tradition.

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Moreover, the eye contains a big flaw: the retina is inside out.

Why would an almighty designer do such a thing? No intelligent designer, .. would put such a clumsy arrangement in a camcorder, and this is just one of the hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that confirm the mindlessness of the historical process.

7

Thanks to technology, what almost anybody can do has been multiplied a thousandfold, and our moral understanding about what we ought to do hasn't kept pace.

7

Try to acquire the weird practice of savoring your mistakes, delighting in uncovering the strange quirks that led you astray. Then, when you have sucked out all the goodness to be gained from having made them, you can cheerfully forget them and go on to the next big opportunity.

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The point of asking questions is to find true answers;

the point of measuring is to measure accurately; the point of making maps is to find your way to your destination... In short, the goal of truth goes without saying, in every human culture.

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Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery.

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There is no reality of consciousness independent of the effects of various vehicles of content on subsequent action (and hence, of course, on memory).

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There's no polite way to say to somebody (religious followers) 'Do you realize you've wasted your life?

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Consciousness is cerebral celebrity--nothing more and nothing less.

Those contents are conscious that persevere, that monopolize resources long enough to achieve certain typical and "symptomatic" effects--on memory, on the control of behavior and so forth.

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The best thing about saying thank goodness in place of thank God this that here really are lots of ways of repaying your debt of goodness - by setting to create more of it, for the benefit of those to come.

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Love is blind, as they say, and because love is blind, it often leads to tragedy: to conflicts in which one love is pitted against another love, and something has to give, with suffering guaranteed in any resolution.

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The haven all memes depend on reaching is the human mind, but a human mind is itself an artifact created when memes restructure a human brain in order to make it a better habitat for memes.

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The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight - that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything [that] a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether.

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It is not so much that we, using our brains, spin our yarns, as that our brains, using yarns, spin us.

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Words are memes that can be pronounced.

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I think that there are no forces on this planet more dangerous to us all than the fanaticisms of fundamentalism, of all the species: Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as well as countless smaller infections. Is there a conflict between science and religion here? There most certainly is.

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The problem is that no ethical system has ever achieved consensus.

Ethical systems are completely unlike mathematics or science. This is a source of concern.

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What you can imagine depends on what you know.

Philosophers who know only philosophy consign themselves to a janitorial role in the great enterprises of exploration that are illuminating the mysteries of our lives.

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Whereas religions may serve a benign purpose by letting many people feel comfortable with the level of morality they themselves can attain, no religion holds its member to the high standards of moral responsibility that the secular world of science and medicine does!

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Words have a genealogy and it's easier to trace the evolution of a single word than the evolution of a language.

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How good are the best musical imaginations? Can a trained musician, swiftly reading a score tell just how that voicing of dissonant oboes and flutes over the massed strings will sound?

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In 50 years - or 20 years, or 200 years - our current epistemic horizon (the Big Bang, roughly) may look as parochial as the horizon Newton had to settle for in his day, but no doubt there will still be good questions whose answers elude us.

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As every scuba diver knows, panic is your worst enemy: when it hits, your mind starts to thrash and you are likely to do something really stupid and self-destructive.

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Now that mobile phones and the internet have altered the epistemic selective landscape in a revolutionary way, every religious organisation must scramble to evolve defences or become extinct.

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True, you don't have to be religious to be crazy, but it helps.

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Some of the greatest, most revolutionary advances in science have been given their initial expression in attractively modest terms, with no fanfare.

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Up till now, we can suppose, nervous systems solved the 'Now what do I do?' problem by a relatively simple balancing act between a strictly limited repertoire of actions - if not the famous four F's (fight, flee, feed, or mate), then a modest elaboration of them.

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Some cultural phenomena bear a striking resemblance to the cells of cell biology, actively preserving themselves in their social environments, finding the nutrients they need and fending off the causes of their dissolution.

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The way evolution always discovers reasons is by retroactive endorsement.

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