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Dennett Visits Stellenbosch!

March 28th, 2009 · Posted by Hugo · 12 Comments

This isn’t an April fool’s joke, The Philosopher (a good friend of mine’s nickname for Prof Daniel Dennett) is visiting Stellenbosch on Wednesday! I’m not duplicating the info here, see the Renowned philosopher to speak at Stellenbosch University news item on Stellenbosch University’s website.

He’s touring… a brief search on Facebook shows he’s also visiting Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. (Here’s a Facebook event for Stellenbosch.)

Categories: Religion and Science
Tags: ·

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kenneth Oberlander // Mar 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Yes, should be fun…I’ve already booked my seat!

  • 2 Ben-Jammin' // Mar 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm


  • 3 Wim Conradie // Mar 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Whoohaa – I’m definately going!


    Booked? I emailed AA van Niekerk het said they don’t do bookings, I can just show up. Am I missing something or do you mean booked more like put it in your week plan? I don’t want to miss out!

  • 4 Kenneth Oberlander // Mar 30, 2009 at 8:19 am

    I was told one needed to book through the Philosophy Dept…things might have changed though.

  • 5 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 1, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Just back from it…

    On the whole…very enjoyable. I don’t know if he swayed any minds, but the audience appeared to enjoy it very much. Saw a lot of scientists and post-grads in the audience, as well as many members of FTM. LOTS of students, which was good to see.

    The talk was basically about memes, and how unique they are to humanity, and how they relate to the way we think. I’ve heard the argument before, but mostly from Dawkins’s books, so it was nice to get some of Dennett’s perspective on the issue.

    Some interesting new facts, as well. I didn’t know that humans and human-associated domesticates and pets now account for 98% of terrestrial vertebrate biomass, for example…

    Some minor nitpicks. I was a bit PO’ed about his constant use of the word Design (with the Capital D) at the beginning of his talk, but this was simply the clever use of a rhetorical device, which duly suckered me. Mea culpa.

    Also, some of the science was a bit…dumbed down, shall we say? Which I fully understand given the target audience, but which cannot help but irritate my pedant-ganglia. Such as his very vertebrate-centric tree of life…grrrr!

    Also, he put together an acronym for Darwin (memetically based on the Darwin fish, memetically based on the Ichthys fish etc.), which didn’t resonate with me. It was an ending which, while funny, didn’t really add to his argument, and felt a bit tacked on and self-congratulatory.

    Minor (and entirely personal) nitpicks aside, I’m glad he came! He has a great rapport with the audience, he gets his points across cogently, and was (surprisingly so, I think, to some members of the audience) an all-round Really Nice Guy, not the fire-breathing Beelzebub of the Four Horsemen by any manner of means.

  • 6 gloep // Apr 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Don’t forget that he’s a sculpture. 😛

  • 7 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Aaaah yes…I don’t think the Head of the Philosophy Dept quite understood the laughter…

  • 8 Hugo // Apr 2, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks for the summary Kenneth! And I don’t get the sculpture comment… hmmmm… I suppose if I had been there, I would have had more to work with.

  • 9 gloep // Apr 3, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Prof van Niekerk se aksent is bietjie swaar met die Ingils. Hy sê toe per ongeluk dat Dennett ‘n “sculpture” ipv ‘n “sculptor” is. Oulik – veral omdat Oom Dan so mooi met se boep daar gestaan het. 🙂

  • 10 Wim Conradie // Apr 4, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I enjoyed it immensely.

    Agree with most of Kenneth.

  • 11 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Wim, I’d be interested to hear where you disagree…I haven’t (for various reasons) really had a chance to discuss the talk with anyone, so I’d like someone else’s opinion, especially where it differs from mine…

  • 12 Wim Conradie // Apr 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Kenneth, thanks for the generous gesture to promote thought.

    I can’t however think of anything really worth mentioning now – but will definately share my views, if I have something of value to contribute.

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