It would be hard to confuse Daniel Dennett for anyone other than a philosopher. With his voluminous white beard, imposing frame, and jolly demeanour, he cuts a distinctive figure in the sleek restaurant atop London’s National Portrait Gallery. It is a hazy, sunny day as we gaze out across the rooftops. The Union Flag hangs limply over Parliament.
As a thought experiment (so beloved of philosophers), I try to picture Dennett in a tunic and sandals orating in the Athenian agora a couple of millennia ago. Yup, that one works. As it is, our modern-day philosopher is dressed in a button-down blue shirt and a grey herringbone jacket and is carrying a splendid walking stick.
With the enthusiasm of a born storyteller, Dennett recounts how he found the stick while tramping through the woods on Outer Long Island, Maine, in 2006.