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In this episode: 

Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

Daniel Dennett is one of the foremost philosophers of mind working today to unravel the puzzle of what minds are and what they’re for, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His latest book of many is called From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds, and it’s a sweeping (but detailed) attempt to demystify how we get from inanimate matter to cathedrals, symphonies, and of course, podcasts.

In this fun and meaty episode of Think Again, Dennett waxes wicked and wise on consciousness, Dolphins, Artificial Intelligence, and much, much more. 

Conversation between host Jason Gots and Daniel Dennett: JG: Much of our lived experience is a “user illusion” as you describe it. We live in the world as we live it but we don’t see the billions of complex processes going on underneath––  DD: Yes and thank goodness! We’d go crazy if we saw all the complexity.    JG: But I wondered for you, personally, having studied this stuff for…40 or 50 years…do you find that the world as-is de-rezzes…? When you’re trying to coo over a baby do you suddenly flash to the biological processes that are going on under the hood?   DD: No, of course not! And I don’t find myself musing on the biomechanics of ejaculation when I’m making love. There’s a time and a place for everything.


Surprise conversation starter interview clips:

Andrew Keen on the Internet and social isolation and Ben Goertzel on Artificial General Intelligence

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.