Article 2 of the Constitution of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation reads as follows: Within the context of the cultural traditions of Europe in general and the ideas of Erasmus in particular, the aim of the Foundation is to enhance the position of the humanities, social sciences and the arts. The emphasis is on tolerance, cultural pluralism and non-dogmatic, critical thinking. The Foundation tries to achieve this aim through the award of prizes and by other means. A money prize is awarded under the name of Erasmus Prize.
In accordance with this article, the Board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation has decided to award the Erasmus Prize for the year 2012 to professor Daniel Dennett.
The Prize is awarded to him on the following grounds:
- With great audacity Daniel Dennett has addressed the most fundamental cultural questions of our time, such as: Where do we come from, and what is it that makes us human?
- Over the years, Mr Dennett has worked on a philosophical theory that integrates biological and cultural phenomena under one overarching, unifying principle, taking Darwin’s theory of evolution as the basis for his worldview.
- In his work, Dennett builds bridges between different disciplines, he stands firm for the importance of scientific research and shows how the natural sciences have a fundamental impact upon our lives and our future.
- He writes books and articles on a wide range of topics and manages to reach an audience way beyond the confines of philosophy. One of the great thinkers of our time, Daniel Dennett is a source of inspiration for colleague scientists, for students from different disciplines as well as for a broad general public.