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The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett$
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Bryce Huebner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199367511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199367511.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 March 2021

Dennett on Breaking the Spell

Dennett on Breaking the Spell

Chapter:
(p.331) 11.1 Dennett on Breaking the Spell
Source:
The Philosophy of Daniel Dennett
Author(s):

Lynne Rudder Baker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199367511.003.0021

Dennett’s has recently attempted to break the “spell” that prevents people from submitting their religious beliefs and practices to scientific investigation. But what spell is being broken? Religion is not a unified phenomenon. By supposing that it is, Dennett is led to adopt an implausible mimetic theory of religious belief, and to mistakenly assume that the presence of a Hyperactive Agency Detection Device would impugn religious belief. More troublingly, although religious beliefs and practices should be studied scientifically, it would be a mistake to treat science as the exclusive arbiter of reality. Dennett makes human beings (persons) seem like aggregates of parts. Such a view seems to have no room for human dignity, except as artifacts of an intentional stance. A plausible theory of human dignity would take people to be ontologically significant unities, who, on my view, have first-person perspectives essentially.

Keywords:   evolution of religion, intentional stance, dignity, first-person perspective, Daniel Dennett

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