He’s still battling dualism, as seen in this New Yorker profile. He’s still arguing with Chalmers, and he’s still going strong…with some exasperation.
Despite his affability, Dennett sometimes expresses a weary frustration with the immovable intuitions of the people he is trying to convince. “You shouldn’t trust your intuitions,” he told the philosophers on the Rembrandt. “Conceivability or inconceivability is a life’s work—it’s not something where you just screw up your head for a second!” He feels that Darwin’s central lesson—that everything in biology is gradual; that it arrives “not in a miraculous, instantaneous whoosh, but slowly, slowly”—is too easily swept aside by our categorical habits of mind. It could be that he is struggling with the nature of language, which imposes a hierarchical clarity upon the world that’s powerful but sometimes false. It could also be that he is wrong. For him, the struggle—a Darwinian struggle, at the level of ideas—continues. “I have devoted half a century, my entire academic life, to the project, in a dozen books and hundreds of articles tackling various pieces of the puzzle, without managing to move all that many readers from wary agnosticism to calm conviction,” he writes, in “From Bacteria to Bach and Back.” “Undaunted, I am trying once again.”
There’s something about this concept, that the mind is a product of the physics, chemistry, and biology of the brain, that some people cannot accept. But then I have an equally strong intuition that it is, so it’s hard to fault people for wanting to disbelieve it; I can still fault them for ignoring the growing evidence for the purely material basis of the mind, the absurdity and poor quality of the evidence for dualism, and the inability to come up with a mechanism, even an outline of an idea, for how dualism would work.