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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) Audiobook, by Michael S. Gazzaniga
3.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 5 3.80 (15 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael S. Gazzaniga Narrator: Pete Larkin Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2011 ISBN:
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter Skillen | 8/14/2013

    " A challenging read and well worth it for those of us who care deeply about teaching kids to think for themselves. We often want kids and people to take charge of their own learning, but this book really makes you think how difficult that actually is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deandra Tan | 5/31/2013

    " Good read over free will. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rob Cantrall | 2/8/2013

    " It wasn't as good as I was hoping. Not particularly well written--gets a bit jumpy at times--and not as accessible as advertised. The problems might be my own in that I'm not as practiced in reading true "science," but it didn't do much for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Hellstrom | 1/26/2013

    " Great book. He has an irreverent, accessible style for a tough subject. A middle ground between determinism and free will. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Al Menaster | 12/15/2012

    " Interesting, thought-provoking book about the brain and consciousness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 12/1/2012

    " Pretty interesting book into the science behind concsiousness, free choice, and the law. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly | 8/24/2012

    " Heavy on neuroscience, fairly light on the free-will question, but learned some interesting things. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 6/25/2012

    " Phenomenal look at how conscious experience is formed. He synthesizes current knowledge from neuroscience, psychology, and physics to dispel illusions and give a glimpse of what's behind the curtain in all our heads. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 5/24/2012

    " It prompted much thought and taught me a few things too. Excellent review of the state of the science relevant to free will. Glad I freely chose to read this gem of a book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 LJ | 4/17/2012

    " brilliant insights on consciousness and society from a brilliant mind. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven Smith | 2/2/2012

    " Wish he touched more on Neuroplasticity, and maybe any evidence that could support thought processes being split even outside the brain. Otherwise interesting information. The legal parts were a little boring. "

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