Philosopher and author Daniel C. Dennett, whose bestselling and often controversial books explored religion, morality, consciousness, and evolutionary biology, among other topics, died at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, on April 19, due to complications of interstitial lung disease. He was 82.

Over the course of his career, Dennett wrote more than 20 books, including 1996's Kinds of Minds: Toward An Understanding of Consciousness (Basic Books) and 2006's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (Penguin Books), which were both bestsellers. His book Darwin's Dangerous Idea Evolution and the Meaning of Life, which PW described as a "provocative" exploration of "how language, mind, culture and morality could have evolved by Darwinian mechanisms," was a finalist for the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1995.

Following a brief stint teaching philosophy at University of California, Irvine, from 1965 to 1971, Dennett joined the faculty of Tufts University, where he remained for the rest of his career. In 1978, he published his first book, Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology (MIT Press). At Tufts, he served as a professor of philosophy and, up until his death, as the codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies.

Over the last decade, W.W. Norton published several books by Dennett, including 2013's Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, 2017's From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds, and 2023's I’ve Been Thinking.

“Norton has been proud to publish Dan Dennett's vital work over the last decade," said Brendan Curry, director of Norton's trade group and a recent editor of Dennett's books, in a statement. "As fiercely humane as he was fiercely intelligent, Dan was committed to doing philosophy in public and explaining our world to anyone who was interested. He was an exemplar of the life of the mind and of the good life. We will miss him."