Daniel Dennett has died (1942-2024)

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Daniel Dennett, professor emeritus of philosophy at Tufts University, well-known for his work in philosophy of mind and a wide range of other philosophical areas, has died.

Professor Dennett wrote extensively about issues related to philosophy of mind and cognitive science, especially consciousness. He is also recognized as having made significant contributions to the concept of intentionality and debates on free will. Some of Professor Dennett’s books include Content and Consciousness (1969), Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology (1981), The Intentional Stance (1987), Consciousness Explained (1992), Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995), Breaking the Spell (2006), and From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (2017). He published a memoir last year entitled I’ve Been Thinking. There are also several books about him and his ideas. You can learn more about his work here.

Professor Dennett held a position at Tufts University for nearly all his career. Prior to this, he held a position at the University of California, Irvine from 1965 to 1971. He also held visiting positions at Oxford, Harvard, Pittsburgh, and other institutions during his time at Tufts University. Professor Dennett was awarded his PhD from the University of Oxford in 1965 and his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1963.

Professor Dennett is the recipient of several awards and prizes including the Jean Nicod Prize, the Mind and Brain Prize, and the Erasmus Prize. He also held a Fulbright Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences. An outspoken atheist, Professor Dennett was dubbed one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism”. He was also a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, an honored Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism, and was named Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Organization.

Dennett has had a big influence on LessWrong. He coined the terms “belief in belief”, “the intentional stance” and “intuition pump”.