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.
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