Friday, July 26, 2013

Dennett vs. Searle

John Searle's sprightly May TED talk is entertaining and, in its main message-- consciousness is a biological phenomenon-- indisputable.

But Searle's continuing bout with Dan Dennett is even more entertaining.
John Searle and I have a deep disagreement about how to study the mind. For Searle, it is all really quite simple. There are these bedrock, time-tested intuitions we all have about consciousness, and any theory that challenges them is just preposterous. I, on the contrary, think that the persistent problem of consciousness is going to remain a mystery until we find some such dead obvious intuition and show that, in spite of first appearances, it is false! One of us is dead wrong, and the stakes are high. Searle sees my position as “a form of intellectual pathology”; no one should be surprised to learn that the feeling is mutual...[NYRB, Aug.15, 2013]

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