© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2006 Method & Theory in the Study of Religion Also available online – www.brill.nl 18, 189-195 REVIEW ESSAY THERMOSTATS, EQUATORS AND RELIGION Dennett, Daniel. Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds . Cambridge, MA: Bradford Books/MIT Press, 1998. Pp. xi + 384. Paper $19.16. ISBN 0-262-54098-9. The social function of a Ph.D., I was once told, is to certify that its owner knows ﬁ fty di ﬀ erent ways of boring everyone at a dinner party. The ugly truth nestled at the heart of this joke is that the discipline and cultivated narrowness required to master a body of scholarship often comes at the cost of exclusively ﬁ xating on one’s own language- game. That is to say, academics can be exceptionally poor conversation partners, and the really bad ones typically come in one of two varieties. There are the blowhards , the folks so fascinated with their inch of turf that they refuse to “ ﬁ nd a way to talk about matters of common con- cern with people who are not accustomed to playing [their] own pre- ferred game” (Rorty 2000, 106). Then there are the anthropophobes , academics who, like Laurence Clements
Method & Theory in the Study of Religion – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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