Daniel Dennett: New Atheist, Philosopher, and… Sailor

Daniel Dennett‘s latest book Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking will be published next week, so the New York Times spoke with him… as he sailed:

Daniel Dennett (Bryce Vickmark – New York Times)

Never mind that the boathouse’s fleet was unexpectedly confined to shore, thanks to a temporary shutdown of river traffic. And never mind that the boats lacked a boom crutch, the piece of nautical equipment that Mr. Dennett uses in the book as a punning name for the kind of faulty thinking tool that blows up in (mostly other) philosophers’ faces.

Sailing was still an apt illustration of the kind of empirically minded problem-solving that Mr. Dennett has long preferred to the abstractions of more traditional philosophy, to the great irritation of some colleagues.

There are a few references to his atheist activism (“There’s simply no polite way to tell people they’ve dedicated their lives to an illusion”) and his work with pastors who don’t believe in God (which led to the Clergy Project), but the bulk of the article is on his philosophical ideas. As someone who normally avoids all philosophical discussion on account of boredom, I’ve been a huge fan of Dennett’s books and I’ll be picking up this one, too.

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