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The Evolution of Minds


“Love it or hate it, phenomena like this [DNA] exhibit the heart of the power of the Darwinian idea. An impersonal, unreflective, robotic, mindless little scrap of molecular machinery is the ultimate basis of all agency, and hence meaning, and hence consciousness, in the universe.”

So wrote Daniel Dennett about twenty years ago in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. The connection between evolution and the neurosciences features prominently in From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Dennett’s new book, which offers a kind of master narrative to account for what, in his subtitle, he refers to as the “evolution of minds.”