From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (Paperback)
"A supremely enjoyable, intoxicating work." —Nature
How did we come to have minds? For centuries, poets, philosophers, psychologists, and physicists have wondered how the human mind developed its unrivaled abilities. Disciples of Darwin have explained how natural selection produced plants, but what about the human mind?
In From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel C. Dennett builds on recent discoveries from biology and computer science to show, step by step, how a comprehending mind could in fact have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection. A crucial shift occurred when humans developed the ability to share memes, or ways of doing things not based in genetic instinct. Competition among memes produced thinking tools powerful enough that our minds don’t just perceive and react, they create and comprehend.
An agenda-setting book for a new generation of philosophers and scientists, From Bacteria to Bach and Back will delight and entertain all those curious about how the mind works.
About the Author
Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor Emeritus at Tufts University and the author of numerous books, including Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, Breaking the Spell, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and Consciousness Explained. He lives with his wife in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
[The] best scientific-philosophical approach to understanding how consciousness evolved…A wonderful book that will shape and drive thinking for years to come.
— Shane O’Mara - Times Higher Education
Dennett is always good company…He writes with wit and elegance.
— Thomas Nagel - New York Review of Books
This is a book to read and relish and then read again.
— Michael S. Gazzaniga - Wall Street Journal
Readers will find their minds enriched with many powerful thinking tools.
If you have not encountered [Dennett’s] work, you surely should…very few contemporary thinkers have supplied us with so many ‘thinking tools.’…Dennett’s book is astonishingly rich and will introduce you to most of the key ideas in the terrain he strides energetically across.
— Adam Zeman - Standpoint
A subtle and
— Stephen Rose - Guardian
Encyclopedic knowledge of both the history of and the latest thinking in philosophy, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science.
— Christopher Beha - Harper's
Brave and bracing.
— Oliver Moody - The Times