Monday, June 28, 2010

Breaking the Spell by Daniel C. Dennett (again)

I recently finished re-reading this excellent work and I just finished re-reading my review of it from four years ago. I do not have too much to add to the previous review except that it was interesting to observe Dennett’s wise tactics regarding how he approached the issue of religion and the arguments he provided to indicate that it should be studied. During the second reading of Breaking the Spell I had the interesting experience of thinking that a lot of the content wasn’t novel (obviously) but that I was surprised by how much I had forgotten.
The chapter “Belief in Belief” was probably the most useful to me. It was the most interesting and insightful because it dealt with how/why people might believe what they do and Dennett made a distinction between believing and understanding. It does seem that there has been a division of labour in that some people believe very strongly in something that cannot even decently describe..
Breaking the Spell is a welcome difference from the more divisive Harris, Hitchens or Dawkins. If you haven’t had a chance to read it… well, what have you been doing? I suggested you do so 4 years ago! ;)


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