Dennett Strikes Back • Enhanced Reactions • More Moral Missives • Duties to the Non-Existent • Reviewer Repents
Dennett Strikes Back
Dear Editor: I am grateful to Father Paul McGavin for his review of Breaking the Spell in Issue 91, since it so excellently illustrates some of the main points in my book. First, as I never tire of observing, there are few folks angrier than a magician whose tricks are unmasked to the audience, and Father McGavin is quite wonderfully furious in his denunciations of my “tiresome and silly” book, with its “crude” analyses. He stoops to name-calling (“positivistic” and “rationalistic” – I’m surprised he didn’t throw in “scientistic”; he might as well call me a blasphemer, a heretic and an infidel while he’s at it). He is apparently not interested in persuading anybody who isn’t a fellow Catholic. I read it as a warning to his flock: “Don’t take this book seriously!” It might have worked in some Catholic magazine, but I don’t think most readers of Philosophy Now will be impressed by these epithets.