On 13 November 2012 the Huizinga Institute and the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation organized in Amsterdam a discussion meeting of PhD researchers from Dutch universities with Daniel Dennett, recipient of the 2012 Erasmus Prize. The symposium The Cultural Meaning of the Life Sciences offered a select group of 16 PhD researchers an opportunity to enter into discussion with Daniel Dennett on topics as Consciousness, Free Will, Methodology and Mind and Cognition. The questions to Dennett were inspired by on-going PhD work of the researchers. Participants in this symposium, moderated by Floris Cohen, consisted of two groups: an inner circle of the selected PhD researchers and an outer circle of readers who are interested in the works of Daniel Dennett, who formed the audience.
It was a thought-provoking and very inspiring symposium. The way Daniel Dennett treated the various cases, combining brilliant analytical thinking with many references to works of fellow philosophers and discoveries in neuroscience and biology, was impressive. Dennett also gave clarifying examples from his own experience, ranging from reflections on his consciousness during a lecture as a young and timid scholar (Princeton University in the early seventies) to the problem of resolving a sudoku when dreaming (Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, November 2012). At the end of the day Daniel Dennett told the audience that he had enjoyed every minute of the symposium. So did we.
Foto’s: Eduard Lampe