Daniel C. Dennett is a world-renowned philosopher, author, and scholar in the field of cognitive studies. Dennett holds the University Professorship, Tufts’ most distinguished faculty title which is bestowed on only a select few renowned faculty members. Dennett holds the University Professorship, Tufts’ most distinguished faculty title which is bestowed on only a select few faculty members.
Dennett is the author, co-author, and editor of over a dozen books including most recently The Four Horsemen: The Discussion That Sparked An Atheist Revolution with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens (Penguin Random House, 2019) and From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (W.W. Norton & Co., 2017). His works also include the 1991 best-seller Consciousness Explained (Little, Brown & Company) as well as his first book Content and Consciousness (1969) followed by Brainstorms (1978), Elbow Room (1984), The Intentional Stance (1987), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Kinds of Minds (1996), Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays 1984-1996 (MIT Press and Penguin, 1998) and Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (MIT Press, 2005). In addition, Dennett is a prolific author of journal articles, having published over 400 scholarly articles on various aspects of the mind in journals spanning a range of disciplines from Artificial Intelligence and Behavioral and Brain Sciences to Poetics Today and The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
Dennett is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science. In 1987 he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2012 he was awarded the Erasmus Prize, the highest award in the Netherlands. Dennett has lectured widely at institutions in the U.S. and abroad, notably including the John Locke Lectures at Oxford in 1983, the Gavin David Young Lectures at Adelaide, Australia in 1985, and the Tanner Lecture at Michigan in 1986, among many others. He has also received honorary degrees from academic institutions around the globe.
Dennett has taught at Tufts since 1971 and during that time has held visiting professorships at Harvard University, University of Pittsburgh, Oxford University, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the London School of Economics, and the American University of Beirut. Beyond his positions at Tufts, he is currently a member of the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and New College of the Humanities in London.
Dennett was the Co-founder (in 1985) and Co-director of the Curricular Software Studio at Tufts and has helped to design museum exhibits on computers for the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Science in Boston, and the Computer Museum in Boston.
He lives with his wife in North Andover, Massachusetts, and has a daughter, a son, and five grandchildren. He was born in Boston in 1942, the son of a historian by the same name, and received his B.A. in philosophy from Harvard in 1963. He then went to Oxford to work with Gilbert Ryle, under whose supervision he completed the D.Phil. in philosophy in 1965. Before coming to Tufts, he taught at U.C. Irvine from 1965 to 1971.