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World leading academic Daniel Dennett to give prestigious lecture – University of Reading

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World leading academic Daniel Dennett to give prestigious lecture

Release Date 08 April 2019

Professor Daniel Dennett

One of the world’s leading cognitive scientists and philosophers, Professor Daniel Dennett, will be giving a public lecture at the University of Reading this May.

Dennett will become the latest recipient of the Albert Wolters Distinguished Visiting Professorship by the University’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, following academics including Professors Elizabeth Loftus and Noam Chomsky who have previously received the honour.

Dennett will deliver the Albert Wolters lecture on “Consciousness, Autonomy and Responsibility”, exploring what it means to be ‘autonomous’, and how language and society shape our sense of being free, morally accountable beings. The lecture will be livestreamed by the University of Reading.

Dr Graham Schafer, co-head of the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading said:

“Professor Dennett is one of the world’s pre-eminent cognitive scientists and philosophers, a prolific writer and communicator. We are delighted to be awarding him the 2019 Albert Wolters Distinguished Visiting Professorship. His visit to the University of Reading promises to be an illuminating opportunity to hear from one of our finest minds.

“Dennett’s career has influenced the work of many contemporary thinkers on consciousness, religion, freedom, and the evolution of the human mind. A committed atheist, and a clear and robust communicator, Dennett has been referred to as one of the ‘four horsemen of the new atheist apocalypse’.”

Growing Autonomy in Human and Artificial Agents

Dennett will also present new work, in collaboration with philosopher Keith Frankish, at a research symposium on “Growing Autonomy in Human and Artificial Agents”, organised by the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences.

The symposium will bring together experts from Psychology, Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Artificial Intelligence. Other speakers include robotics innovator Josh Bongard (Vermont), philosophers of mind Emma Borg (Reading) and Cecilia Heyes (Oxford), philosopher of mental health Lisa Bortolotti (Birmingham), and Google Deepmind and Imperial College AI expert Murray Shanahan.

For further details about the symposium including details of how to book:


The University will also be partnering with New Scientist to provide an opportunity for members of the public to put their questions to Professor Dennett. Further details will be published on the University of Reading’s Facebook page ahead of the event which is due to take place on the afternoon of Thursday 9 May.


Events listing:

  • 8 May – Research Symposium
  • 9 May – afternoon – Facebook live event with New Scientist
  • 9 May – evening – Albert Wolters Public Lecture – livestreamed by the University of Reading


Image credit: Mathias Schindler, 2008, Daniel Dennett at the 17. Accessed at on 8 April 2019. Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0.

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