Sunday Best – April 28, 2024

“Yes we have a soul but it’s made of lots of tiny robots.”


I’ve been reading a lot of the provocative and illuminating work of Dan Dennett lately, and in continuing the comment above, he expanded –  

…I thought that’s exactly right. Yes we have a soul, but it’s mechanical. But it’s still a soul, it still does the work that the soul was supposed to do. It is the seat of reason. It is the seat of moral responsibility. It’s why we are appropriate objects of punishment when we do evil things, why we deserve the praise when we do good things. It’s just not a mysterious lump of wonder stuff that will outlive us.

It’s the sign of a great philosopher that their work can push us to refine our own conviction, to be clearer and crisper in our own thinking. For example, I do not agree that my soul is made up of tiny robots, but I DO believe that the soul is the seat of moral responsibility.

Hmmm. This is a different – and better – set of ideas to consider than I had before.

Dear ones, if an idea is worthy of our disagreement, it is worthy of our earnest exploration.

In a world of snarky sound bites and divisive declarations, let’s muster up our inner philosophers, to reflect and converse and refine, together. 


** Dan’s last major publication, the memoir I’ve Been Thinking, is a delightful tour of his extraordinary life and work. And one of many Dennett essays that helped to improve my own thinking in recent years is his Atlantic piece The Problem with Counterfeit People


Mail Click
Join Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list

We invite you to become part of the Honeybee Capital hive. Sign up here to receive ongoing updates about our work.