Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

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“Big questions are Gazzaniga’s stock in trade.”
—New York Times

“Gazzaniga is one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world.”
—Tom Wolfe

“Gazzaniga stands as a giant among neuroscientists, for both the quality of his research and his ability to communicate it to a general public with infectious enthusiasm.”
—Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News

The author of Human, Michael S. Gazzaniga has been called the “father of cognitive neuroscience.” In his remarkable book, Who’s in Charge?, he makes a powerful and provocative argument that counters the common wisdom that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes we cannot control. His well-reasoned case against the idea that we live in a “determined” world is fascinating and liberating, solidifying his place among the likes of Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, V.S. Ramachandran, and other bestselling science authors exploring the mysteries of the human brain.

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About the author

Michael S. Gazzaniga is internationally recognized in the field of neuroscience and a pioneer in cognitive research. He is the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of many popular science books, including Who’s in Charge? (Ecco, 2011). He has six children and lives in California with his wife.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Nov 15, 2011
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780062096838
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Neuroscience
Psychology / Neuropsychology
Science / Life Sciences / Neuroscience
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In The Meaning of Mind, Thomas Szasz argues that only as a verb does the word "mind" mean something in the real world, namely, attending or heeding. Minding is the ability to pay attention and adapt to one's environment by using language to communicate with others and oneself. Viewing the "mind" as a potentially infinite variety of self-conversations is the key that unlocks many of the mysteries we associate with this concept. Modern neuroscience is a misdirected effort to explain "mind" in terms of brain functions. The claims and conclusions of the diverse academics and scientists who engage in this enterprise undermine the concepts of moral agency and personal responsibility. Szasz shows that the cognitive function of speech is to enable us to talk not only to others but to ourselves (in short, to be our own interlocutor), and that the view that mind is brain--embraced by both the scientific community and the popular press--is not an empirical finding but a rhetorical ruse concealing humanity's unceasing struggle to control persons by controlling the vocabulary. The discourse of brain-mind, unlike the discourse of man as moral agent, protects people from the dilemmas intrinsic to holding themselves responsible for their own actions and holding others responsible for theirs. Because we live in an age blessed by the fruits of materialist science, reductionist explanations of the relationship between brain and mind are more popular today than ever, making this book an indispensible addition to the seemingly recondite debate about, simply, who we are.
Have you ever . . . Invested time in something that, in hindsight, just wasn't worth it? Paid too much in an eBay auction? Continued to do something you knew was bad for you? Sold stocks too late, or too early? Taken credit for success, but blamed failure on external circumstances? Backed the wrong horse?

These are examples of what the author calls cognitive biases, simple errors all of us make in day-to-day thinking. But by knowing what they are and how to identify them, we can avoid them and make better choices: whether in dealing with personal problems or business negotiations, trying to save money or earn profits, or merely working out what we really want in life—and strategizing the best way to get it.

Already an international bestseller, The Art of Thinking Clearly distills cutting-edge research from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience into a clever, practical guide for anyone who's ever wanted to be wiser and make better decisions. A novelist, thinker, and entrepreneur, Rolf Dobelli deftly shows that in order to lead happier, more prosperous lives, we don't need extra cunning, new ideas, shiny gadgets, or more frantic hyperactivity—all we need is less irrationality.

Simple, clear, and always surprising, this indispensable book will change the way you think and transform your decision making—at work, at home, every day. From why you shouldn't accept a free drink to why you should walk out of a movie you don't like, from why it's so hard to predict the future to why you shouldn't watch the news, The Art of Thinking Clearly helps solve the puzzle of human reasoning.

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