Rachel Townsend's picture

Thought Capabilities of Homo Sapiens And Other Animal Species

Daniel Dennett's book Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life discusses, in great detail, the ramifications of Darwin's theory of evolution on human life and meaning.  While looking over portions of the book again, I found myself wondering more about some of Dennett's ideas and other species of animals.  On page 369, Dennett writes: "The invasion of human brains by culture, in the form of memes, has created human minds, which alone among animals minds can conceive of things distant and future, and formulate alternative goals." (1)  What interests me here is his complete dismissal of other animals as thinking or having culture.  While Dennett certainly makes great, strong points about human culture, even if I do not necessarily agree with him, he jumps stra
sustainablephilosopher's picture

On the necessity of believing in the imaginary world: Praising Skyhooks contra Dennett

On the necessity of believing in the imaginary world: Praising Skyhooks contra Dennett
by Tim Richards

Paul Grobstein's picture

The risks and potentials of thinking

"Serendip is a gathering place for people who suspect that life's instructions are always ambiguous and incomplete ... an expanding forum and a continually developing set of resources to explore and support intellectual and social change ... in how one makes sense of life" .... Serendip home page

An interesting/satisfying Serendip couple of days ... 

Paul Grobstein's picture

Science and art, art and science, and .... life

My old colleague and friend Eric Raimy posted some interesting thoughts in Facebook recently.   Some excerpts for those who can't get there directly, followed by some thoughts of my own ...

Serendip's Science and Culture Forum

Welcome. This open forum is for postings and discussions relevant to Serendip's Science and Culture resource page. Comments on materials linked to from there as well suggestions for additional materials are welcome here. Visit to find postings from others that you might find useful in your own thinking, and to leave postings that others might find useful. Postings may be delayed in appearing while they are checked to avoid spam.

Where Does It All Come From? A Conversation

Benjamin Olshin is assistant professor of Philosophy, History, and History of Science at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Paul Grobstein is professor of Biology at Bryn Mawr College. The two met and discovered common interests, like this one, at a meeting on "Building the Scientific Mind" in Vancouver in May 2007 (for another common interest see Reality and Virtual Reality). Their ongoing exchange is provided here to encourage further conversation. Your thoughts are welcome in the forum area below.


Olshin - 30 November 2008

Paul Grobstein's picture

The self: genes, environment, chance, and ... free will

Steven Pinker's "My Genome, My Self" is a valuable reminder that

as well as a useful summary of the kinds of observations that lead to those conclusions, and wise advice for those who may (or may not) want to know more about their own genes. As Pinker points out, who one is is influenced by genes, but influenced as well by personal experiences, and by chance, so genes are relevant to the question of who one is but not the answer to that question.

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