Quine's Digital Babel; Dennett on the Res Cogitans

Tue Feb 21, 2006

I’m teaching “The Library of Babel” tomorrow, and I was pleased to find Quine’s piece from Quiddities (an elegantly written book) online. Dennett, who also mentions the Borges story in his “In Darwin’s Wake, Where Am I?” (citation available in my Citeulike directory), presents yet again the res cogitans as a “skyhook.” Has he ever addressed Chomsky’s response to this, that Newton’s demonstration of action at a distance actually rendered the concept of a body obsolete? I read Consciousness Explained (and an unpublished, to my knowledge, MS by Jameson on Dennett’s conception of allegory), and I don’t recall any mention of it there.

I’m becoming more and more fascinated by the blind Borges’s perception of America during his academic visits. How tall Texans would tell him things about parallels in his work he never thought of. The shadows of Austin, Baltimore, and Cambridge.