Tufts University Professor Daniel Dennett selected as 2009 Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- Daniel Dennett of Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences has been selected as an AAAS Fellow for transformational contributions to philosophy of the cognitive sciences and philosophy of biology, which have become the most rapidly advancing fields in philosophy of science.

Election as Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Dennett, the Austin B. Fletcher professor of philosophy, was one of 531 members named as a Fellow.

"Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Hume, and Kant were all either scientists themselves or deeply engaged participants in the science of their age," explains Dennett. "The isolation of philosophy from science was largely a 20th Century fashion that is now happily waning, as more and more young philosophers see their research endeavors as intimately engaged with the conceptual problems that arise in the sciences. I am thus particularly grateful for this honor, since it signals a renewed appreciation in the scientific community for the informed collaborative efforts of philosophers."

Dennett, the author of "Breaking the Spell" (Viking, 2006), "Freedom Evolves" (Viking Penguin, 2003) and "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (Simon &Schuster, 1995), is also the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Harvard University in 1963. He then went to Oxford University to work with Gilbert Ryle, under whose supervision he completed the D.Phil. in philosophy in 1965. He taught at U.C. Irvine from 1965 to 1971, when he moved to Tufts, where he has taught ever since, aside from periods visiting at Harvard, Pittsburgh, Oxford, and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

His first book, "Content and Consciousness," appeared in 1969, followed by "Brainstorms" (1978), "Elbow Room" (1984), "The Intentional Stance" (1987), "Consciousness Explained" (1991), "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (1995), "Kinds of Minds" (1996), and "Brainchildren: A Collection of Essays 1984-1996" (MIT Press and Penguin, 1998). "Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness," was published in 2005 by MIT Press. He co-edited "The Mind's I" with Douglas Hofstadter in 1981. He is the author of more than 300 scholarly articles on various aspects on the mind, published in journals ranging from "Artificial Intelligence" and "Behavioral and Brain Sciences" to "Poetics Today" and the "Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism."

He 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 gave 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 received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Science. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1987.

This year 531 members were selected as Fellows because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. This year’s AAAS Fellows will be announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on December 18. New Fellows will be honored during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego on February 20.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more.

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Tufts University, located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville, and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.


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