Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

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Penguin Adult, Mar 29, 2007 - Philosophy - 448 pages
14 Reviews

In Breaking the Spell Daniel C. Dennett explores how the great ideas of religion have enthralled us for thousands of years - and whether we could (or should) break free.

What is religion and how did it evolve? Is it the product of blind evolutionary instinct or of rational choice? Is the only way to live a good life through religion?

Few forces in the world are as potent as religion: it comforts people in their suffering and inspires them to both magnificent and terrible deeds. In this provocative and timely book, Daniel C. Dennett seeks to uncover the origins of religion and discusses how and why different faiths have shaped so many lives, whether religion is an addiction or a genuine human need, and even whether it is good for our health. Arguing passionately for the need to understand this multifaceted phenomenon, Breaking the Spell offers a truly original - and comprehensive - explanation for faith.

'Packed with a mass of intriguing detail and anecdote ... witty and clear prose'
Observer

'He's the "good cop" among religion's critics (Richard Dawkins is the "bad cop"), but he still makes people angry'
New Statesman

'Dennett writes with brio and humour'
Telegraph

'Elegant, sharp-minded ... clear-eyed but courteous'
Economist

Daniel Dennett is one of the most original and provocative thinkers in the world. A brilliant polemicist and philosopher, he is famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies, and an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. His books include Brainstorms, Brainchildren, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Freedom Evolves.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

Dennett is much more readable than many of today's philosophers. He doesn't obscure his ideas behind a wall of abstruse language designed more to befuddle than illuminate. Maybe that's why he has ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Mandarinate - LibraryThing

On the one hand, an interesting speculation on religious creeds as competing "memes" (ideas that struggle for survival through reproduction and mutation), on the other, a tedious rhetoric aimed at ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Daniel Dennett is one of the most original and provocative thinkers in the world. A brilliant polemicist and philosopher, he is famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies. His books include Brainstorms, Brainchildren, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Freedom Evolves. He lives in North Andover, Massachusetts.

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