Breaking the Spell is Daniel Dennett's most innovative and important work yet; it offers a profound challenge to society and a compelling new history of belief. In this provocative and timely book, Dennett seeks to uncover the origins of religion, and discusses why and how different faiths have commanded allegiance and shaped so many lives. He argues passionately for the need to understand this phenomenon and offers a truly original and comprehensive explanation for religion. What was the psychological and cultural soil in which it first took root? How did it evolve? Is it the product of blind evolutionary instinct or of rational choice? Dennett shows how these ideas could have spread from individual superstitions, via shamanism and the early `wild' strains of religion to today's institutionalized systems. Dennett brings religion into the realm of real public debate - and, in so doing, he breaks the spell.
First published 2006.
Daniel Dennett is one of the most original and provocative thinkers in the world. A brilliant polemicist and philosopher, he is famous for challenging unexamined orthodoxies. His books include Brainstorms, Brainchildren, Elbow Room, Consciousness Explained, Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Freedom Evolves. He lives in North Andover, Massachusetts.