Eric Schliesser at SpringerLink:
In this essay, I discuss Dennett’s From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (hereafter From Bacteria) and Godfrey Smith’s Other Minds: The Octopus and The Evolution of Intelligent Life (hereafter Other Minds) from a methodological perspective. I show that these both instantiate what I call ‘synthetic philosophy.’ They are both Darwinian philosophers of science who draw on each other’s work (with considerable mutual admiration). In what follows I first elaborate on synthetic philosophy in light of From Bacteria and Other Minds; I also explain my reasons for introducing the term; I look at the function of Darwinism in contemporary synthetic philosophy; and I close by analyzing the sociological challenges to synthetic philosophy.
By ‘synthetic philosophy’ I mean a style of philosophy that brings together insights, knowledge, and arguments from the special sciences with the aim to offer a coherent account of complex systems and connect these to a wider culture or other philosophical projects (or both).