Daniel Dennett sitting in the woods, cleaning his glasses

Daniel Dennett is a philosopher who I enjoyed reading an undergraduate studying towards a Philosophy degree. I don’t think I’ve read him since, although his book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking is on my list of books I’d like to read.

Maria Popova has extracted four rules which Dennett cites in Intuition Pumps which originally come from game theorist Anatol Rapoport. Sounds like good advice to me, especially in this fractured, fragmented world.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”

  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Source: The Marginalian

Image: Daniel Dennett (via The New Yorker)