Jeremy Lyon's Reviews > Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
May 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read in May, 2008

In this book Dennett makes an authoritative case against the necessity of what he calls "skyhooks" in order to explain life and meaning. Skyhooks are the deus ex machina of science, invented to make the case for human exceptionalism. Dennett's able to show that evolutionary theory can dissolve just about any argument in favor of skyhooks into plain, old-fashioned incrementalism.

The vast majority of the book is devoted to this topic; considerably fewer pages are allocated to describing how morality and meaning can be generated by incrementalism, and I kept feeling there was a lot of hand waving going on in the final chapters. There was no Theory of Meaning clearly enunciated, but in Dennett's defense he wasn't trying to build one. In fact, he claims that no such beast exists, that morality, like life, is a finely gradated set of decisions in which the transition from right to wrong is never clear and only identifiable in retrospect.
4 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Darwin's Dangerous Idea.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Brian (new) - added it

Brian I'll have to give this a look, thanks.

back to top