Big Ideas 2015

Daniel Hutto

PROF. Daniel Hutto 


"I attempt to understand human nature in a way which respects natural science but which nevertheless rejects the impersonal metaphysics of much contemporary naturalism".

You can't handle the truth! A revolution in mind.

Our minds are in our heads; their contents are furnished by our senses. Our eyes and ears transmit information from the world that is received by the brain. Our brains compile this information to construct models and representations of the outer world, allowing us to deal with it intelligently. This has been the standard view in the sciences of the mind for centuries. But what if it isn’t so?  What if it isn’t possible to ‘pick up’ information from the world? What if we can’t really 'handle truth’ or information? We would need to rethink our age-old picture of the mind, fundamentally. Perhaps brains do not really take in and process any information at all. Perhaps having a mind is more a matter of continually and actively engaging with selective aspects of our environment in sensitive ways. In this talk, Professor Daniel Hutto will promote such a major rethink about thinking itself, which should make a practical difference to how we approach the training and embedding of skills, both in adults and children, and provide a basis for new therapies in mental health.

Daniel D. Hutto is Professor of Philosophical Psychology at the UOW. His most recent books include: Wittgenstein and the End of Philosophy (Palgrave, 2006) and Folk Psychological Narratives (MIT, 2008). He is co-author of the award-winning Radicalizing Enactivism (MIT, 2013), designated a Choice Outstanding Academic Title and given honourable mention at the PROSE Awards for “pioneering works of research”. He is also editor of Narrative and Understanding Persons (CUP, 2007) and Narrative and Folk Psychology (Imprint Academic, 2009). A special yearbook, Radical Enactivism, focusing on his philosophy of intentionality, phenomenology and narrative, was published in 2006. He regularly speaks at conferences and expert meetings for clinical psychiatrists, educationalists, narratologists, neuroscientists and psychologists. 

Last reviewed: 7 September, 2015