Biography of a philosopher

Here is part I of an intellectual autobiography Daniel C. Dennett is writing. I find it extremely interesting, if only for the glimpse of what it was like to be a talented and dedicated student of philosophy at Harvard and then Oxford in the 1960s.

The thesis was duly typed up in triplicate and handed in (by a professional typist, back in those days before word-processing). I anxiously awaited the day when Quine and young Charles Parsons, my examiners, would let me know what they made of it. Quine showed up with maybe half a dozen single-spaced pages of comments. I knew at that moment that I was going to be a philosopher.

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One thought on “Biography of a philosopher

  1. Rob

    This, to judge by his many presentations available available online, struck me as something he’s taken to heart as a practical principle:

    “You seldom talk anybody out of a position by arguing directly with their premises and inferences. Sometimes it is more effective to nudge them sideways with images, examples, helpful formulations that stick to their habits of thought.”

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