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Download Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Whos in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (Unabridged), by Michael S. Gazzaniga
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (380 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael S. Gazzaniga Narrator: Pete Larki Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions.

A powerful orthodoxy in the study of the brain has taken hold in recent years: Since physical laws govern the physical world and our own brains are part of that world, physical laws therefore govern our behavior and even our conscious selves. Free will is meaningless, goes the mantra; we live in a determined world.

Not so, argues the renowned neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga in this thoughtful, provocative book based on his Gifford Lectures - one of the foremost lecture series in the world dealing with religion, science, and philosophy. Who's in Charge? proposes that the mind, which is somehow generated by the physical processes of the brain, constrains the brain just as cars are constrained by the traffic they create. Writing with what Steven Pinker has called his trademark wit and lack of pretension, Gazzaniga shows how determinism immeasurably weakens our views of human responsibility; it allows a murderer to argue, in effect, It wasn't me who did it - it was my brain. Gazzaniga convincingly argues that even given the latest insights into the physical mechanisms of the mind, there is an undeniable human reality: We are responsible agents who should be held accountable for our actions, because responsibility is found in how people interact, not in brains.

An extraordinary book that ranges across neuroscience, psychology, ethics, and the law with a light touch but profound implications, Who's in Charge? is a lasting contribution from one of the leading thinkers of our time.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Steve Bell | 12/21/2013

    " I found this a persuasive alternative to hard determinism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rand Harker | 12/8/2013

    " In the first place, according to this book my brain already made the decision to like this book and now my left brain is merely looking to justify a decision I've already made. I buy it--I've learned by experience that the brain is a pattern-seeking device which will identify patterns whether they actually exist or not. And this book also did give confirmation to what I intuitively feel or believe--i.e., that all my motions, actions, behaviors, feelings, beliefs etc were not deterministically hardwired in the instant of the big bang. The central idea that I like here is Gazzaniga's concept of emergence, which suggest that complicated systems cannot be treated in a reductionist fashion, that (to use an old but still accurate phrase) the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. All in all, a very stimulating read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Erin | 11/18/2013

    " This was a huge disappointment. I love Gazzaniga's work, but he really lost me as the book devolved into cringe-worthy discussions of quantum mechanics, morality, and society. Stick to what you know and leave the philosophy to the philosophers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael | 8/27/2013

    " Had a few excellent chapters and a few ok chapters. Overall an interesting scientific exploration of what it means to feel human, and the implications in morality and law. "

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