From Darwin to Derrida

David Haig, From Darwin to Derrida: From Darwin to Derrida (2020) is a roller-coaster ride for intrepid thinkers. Dawkins (1976) introduced the endlessly productive metaphor of selfish genes, but even if we grant, for the sake of argument, or as a crutch for our imaginations, that we can interpret such mindless things as agents for some purposes, where does real agency kick in? How do we get from molecules to masterminds, from selfish genes to selfish (and altruistic) people? Haig tells us that ‘conscious intentions are special cases of a pervasive intentionality of living things,’ and he has a lot to say about how these cases are special and how they might arise. [recommended by Daniel Dennett, Tufts University]

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