Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Evolution and the Meanings of Life
Daniel C. Dennett, 1995

Part I: Starting in the Middle

Chapter 1. Tell Me Why

1. Is Nothing Sacred?

2. What, Where, When, Why -- and How?

3. Locke's "Proof" of the Primacy of Mind

4. Hume's Close Encounter

Chapter 2. An Idea is Born

1. What Is So Special about Species?

2. Natural Selection -- An Awful Stretcher

3. Did Darwin Explain the Origin of Species?

4. Natural Selection as an Algorithmic Process

5. Processes as Algorithms

Chapter 3. Universal Acid

1. Early Reactions

2. Darwin's Assault on the Cosmic Pyramid

3. The Principle of the Accumulation of Design

4. The Tools for R & D: Skyhooks or Cranes?

5. Who's Afraid of Reductionism?

Chapter 4. The Tree of Life

1. How Should We Visualize the Tree of Life?

2. Color-Coding a Species on the Tree

3. Retrospective Coronations: Mitochondrial Eve and Invisible Beginnings

4. Patterns, Oversimplification, and Explanation

Chapter 5. The Possible and the Actual

1. Grades of Possibility?

2. The Library of Mendel

3. The Complex Relation Between Genome and Organism

4. Possibility Naturalized

Chapter 6. Threads of Actuality in Design Space

1. Drifting and Lifting Through Design Space

2. Forced Moves in the Game of Design

3. The Unity of Design Space

Part II: Darwinian Thinking in Biology

Chapter 7. Priming Darwin's Pump

1. Back Beyond Darwin's Frontier

2. Molecular Evolution

3. The Laws of the Game of Life

4. Eternal Recurrence -- Life Without Foundations?

Chapter 8. Biology is Emerging

1. The Sciences of the Artificial

2. Darwin is Dead -- Long Live Darwin!

3. Function and Specification

4. Original Sin and the Birth of Meaning

6. The Computer That Learned to Play Checkers

7. Artifact Hermeneutics, or Reverse Engineering

8. Stuart Kauffman as Meta-Engineer

Chapter 9. Searching for Quality

1. The Power of Adaptationist Thinking

2. The Leibnizian Paradigm

3. Playing with Constraints

Chapter 10. Bully for Brontosaurus

1. The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

2. The Spandrel's Thumb

3. Puncuated Equilibrium: A Hopeful Monster

4. Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Burgess Shale Double-Play Mystery

Chapter 11. Controversies Contained

1. A Clutch of Harmless Heresies

2. Three Losers: Teilhard, Lamarck, and Directed Mutation

3. Cui Bono?

Part III: Mind, Meaning, Mathematics, and Morality

Chapter 12. The Cranes of Culture

1. The Monkey's Uncle Meets the Meme

2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

3. Could There Be a Science of Memetics?

4. The Philosophical Importance of Memes

Chapter 13. Losing Our Minds to Darwin

1. The Role of Langauge in Intelligence

2. Chomsky Contra Darwin: Four Episodes

3. Nice Tries

Chapter 14. The Evolution of Meanings

1. The Quest for Real Meaning

2. Two Black Boxes

3. Blocking the Exits

4. Safe Passage to the Future

Chapter 15. The Emporer's New Mind, and Other Fables

1. The Sword in the Stone

2. The Library of Toshiba

3. The Phantom Quantum-Gravity Computer: Lessons from Lapland

Chapter 16. On the Origin of Morality

1. E Pluribus Unum?

2. Friedrich Nietzsche's Just So Stories

3. Some Varieties of Greedy Ethical Reductionism

4. Sociobiology: Good and Bad, Good and Evil

Chapter 17. Redesigning Morality

1. Can Ethics be Naturalized?

2. Judging the Competition

3. The Moral First Aid Manual

Chapter 18. The Future of an Idea

1. In Praise of Biodiveristy

2. Universal Acid: Handle with Care


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