Daniel C. Dennett, American naturalist philosopher specializing in the philosophy of mind.
He became a prominent figure in the atheist movement at the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to his formal philosophical training, Dennett made autodidactic forays into the fields of artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology.
From 1993 Dennett was involved with a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that attempted to construct an intelligent, and perhaps even conscious, robot called Cog.
Throughout his career he authored a number of books that detailed his theories of consciousness. Two efforts, Consciousness Explained (1991) and Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995), examined how the mindless process of natural selection accounts for the evolution of the brain and human consciousness.
Dennett’s intellectual peregrinations increasingly converged with a movement that held all forms of religion to be false and that advocated an atheist worldview. His 2006 volume Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon advanced evolutionary explanations for the development of religious thought. He considered religious inclinations to be largely a by-product of instinct-driven social phenomena.