Content and Consciousness
Preface by Daniel C. Dennett
Routledge – 2010 – 264 pages
Series: Routledge Classics
Content and Consciousness is an original and ground-breaking attempt to elucidate a problem integral to the history of Western philosophical thought: the relationship of the mind and body. In this formative work, Dennett sought to develop a theory of the human mind and consciousness based on new and challenging advances in the field that came to be known as cognitive science. This important and illuminating work is widely-regarded as the book from which all of Dennett’s future ideas developed. It is his first explosive rebuttal of Cartesian dualism and one of the founding texts of philosophy of mind.
‘It presents a compelling and sometimes profound conception of the subject; it is ambitious without being grandiose; it employs scientific information effectively and ingeniously; its style, moreover, is enviable clear witty, clear, fluent and relaxed. One rarely encounters a difficult work of technical philosophy that is such a pleasure to read.’ - Thomas Nagel, Journal of Philosophy
‘Content and Consciousness is an extraordinarily interesting and original book, and one which will raise the level of current discussion in the philosophy of mind.’ - Richard Rorty, Philosophical Studies
'I have certainly been greatly stimulated by reading the book, and I recommend it to all others who have an interest in the problems of mind and body and of physicalism and its alternatives.' -J.C.C. Smart, Mind
Preface to the Routledge Classics Edition Preface to the Second Edition Preface to the First Edition Part 1: The Language of the Mind I. The Ontological Problem of the Mind 1. The Mind and Science 2. Existence and Identity II. Intentionality 3. The Problem of Intentionality 4. Two Blind Alleys 5. The Way Out III. Evolution of the Brain 6. The Intelligent Use of Information 7. The Evolution of Appropriate Structures 8. Goal-directed Behaviour IV. The Ascription of Content 9. Function and Content 10. Language and Content 11. Personal and Sub-Personal Levels and Explanation: Pain Part 2: Consciousness V. Introspective Certainty 12. The Certainty of Certain Utterances 13. A Perceiving Machine VI. Awareness and Consciousness 14. The Ordinary Words 15. Awareness and Control 16. Consciousness VII. Mental Imagery 17. The Name of Images and the Introspective Trap 18. Colours VIII Thinking and Reasoning 19. People and Processes 20. Reasons and Causes IX. Actions and Intentions 21. Intentional Actions 22. Willing 23. The Importance of Intentional Actions X. Language and Understanding 24. Knowing and Understanding 25. Language and Information 26. Conclusions Index
Daniel C. Dennett (b. 1942) is University Professor and Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies. The author of numerous books on the human mind and consciousness, he is also a critic of religion and a public defender of Darwin and evolution.