Charles Darwin Scholar to bring mind into focus


Professor Daniel Dennett is Charles Darwin University’s 2018 Charles Darwin Scholar

Professor Daniel Dennett is Charles Darwin University’s 2018 Charles Darwin Scholar

An internationally acclaimed philosopher, who specialises in the evolution of the human mind, is Charles Darwin University’s 2018 Charles Darwin Scholar.

Daniel Dennett is Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Centre for Cognitive Studies in the School of Art and Sciences at Tufts University in the United States and will visit the Northern Territory for two weeks in September as the Charles Darwin Scholar.

Professor Dennett’s research focuses on the philosophy of the mind, science, and biology –particularly how these fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science – and the evolution of the human mind and what distinguishes it from other animals’ minds in terms of consciousness.

He will give two public addresses and hold seminars with students during his time in the NT.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks said Professor Dennett was well known for his views and input to the long-running international debate among evolutionary biologists around socio-biology and evolutionary psychology.

“His views – coming from the position of a philosopher – provide a perspective and analysis on how human minds have evolved that will be of great interest to both science and humanities staff and students at CDU, as well as to the wider public,” Professor Maddocks said.

The Charles Darwin Scholar program is a biennial initiative established in 2013 to enhance CDU’s links to the work and legacy of its namesake, the naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin.

Charles Darwin Scholars hold the honorary position for 12 months during which time they visit Darwin for a short period to deliver the Charles Darwin Oration, which is open to the public, and take part in discussions with staff and students.

“Charles Darwin Scholars are eminent and accomplished researchers in either the history of Charles Darwin, evolutionary biology, or fields closely related to either of these areas, and are sourced from anywhere in the world,” Professor Maddocks said.

“We are privileged that Professor Dennett has accepted this position and look forward to his visit to Darwin in September to deliver the Charles Darwin Oration.”

Professor Dennett is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. He was named 2004 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association.

Professor Dennett will arrive in the NT on 8 September and will give the Charles Darwin Oration in Darwin on Thursday, 13 September and in Alice Springs on Thursday, 20 September. His visit is being supported by a Fulbright Specialist grant.

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