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

Who s in Charge Free Will and the Science of the Brain 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

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 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 NewsThe 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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    Michael S. Gazzaniga
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  1. Do people really have free will? There are those who contend that since the brain is a physical object, subject to physical laws, human behavior is pre-determined, and thus the antithesis of free. Does a lesion in one’s frontal lobe give credence to a defense of “The Devil Made Me Do it?” Where lies personal responsibility? Michael Gazzaniga contends that we are more than the sum, or volume, of our parts and, in the system of human interactions, we are personally responsible for our action [...]

  2. The start of this book is pretty much the same as Sam Harris’s Free Will. But this guy comes to the opposite conclusion. A tad frustrating, I guess, but no less interesting for that.Let’s have a look at the problem. In the middle of this book he has a really lovely analogy explaining the barriers that reductionism places in front of our understanding of free will.Let’s say you wanted to understand the problem of traffic congestion. To what extent would understanding the workings of a car [...]

  3. Michael Gazzaniga is a leading neuroscientist, and he has written a fascinating book on the subject of free will. Interestingly, we want to have free will ourselves, but we don't want others to have it. We want other people to act efficiently, and basically to think the same way that we do.The book examines consciousness and free will from many different perspectives; emergence, evolution, epigenetics, neurons, quantum mechanics, morality, the justice system, split-brain patients, sociology and [...]

  4. 4.5 StarsThis is a very good read. Gazzaniga explains the workings of the brain in terms that rarely get technical. He puts modern understanding of the neurology of our minds into context with history, free will, evolution. Though neurology is a complex subject, Gazzaniga does a very good job of keeping it understandable. It is non-fiction and it is not a story like an autobiography. Gazzaniga does as good a job as he can at telling the story of our brain in a way that is entertaining and easy t [...]

  5. كتاب جازينجا هذا جميل ويطرح مسألة انقسام الدماغ وعمله على هيئة أجزاء متنافرة ومتضاربة . ويكاد يأتي على حقيقة (اختيار الإنسان) وينفيها . غير أنه يبذل قصارى جهده في فصول الكتاب الأخيرة ليعيد الاعتبار لهذه الفضيلة وذاك في معرض حديثه عن مسئولية الإنسان عن أفعاله. ويطرح المسئولية [...]

  6. Gazzaniga provides a succinct enough summary of current research into the brain. However, its when he addresses the notion of free will that the book falls flat. In attempt to find room for free will, he takes a detour into quantum physics and probability theory. Even if one accepts his argument, this only grants free will within a limited range offer by a list of probabilities. To contend that free will on this basis is rather difficulty so he also provides the common sense idea that we do empl [...]

  7. Added to my list with some trepidation. For one thing, Tom Wolfe blurbed it, and Wolfe is a reactionary assberet, so that's hardly a glowing recommendation. And then the snippet says "counters the common wisdom that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes we cannot control. " And I think, "Oh, really?" That "wholly determined" looks like a strawman to me, thrown up to give the author a very low standard of proof. Not to mention that "free will" is so rich in religious connotation.

  8. Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga "Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain" is the thought-provoking book about the fascinating topic of free will and neuroscience. Neuroscientist and gifted author Michael S. Gazzaniga provides the latest insights into the science of the brain and offers unique perspectives. This 272-page book is composed of seven chapters: 1. The Way We Are, 2. The Parallel and Distributing Brain, 3. The Interpreter, [...]

  9. Despite the author's initial claim that some vestige of free will could be salvaged from the jaws of determinism, he does a pretty good job demolishing that claim. All the while, he mucks around in the many very interesting weeds. In fact, the interesting weeds were what propped up this rating to three stars.The author's premise seems to be a form similar to "god of the gaps," wherein the uncertainty of not knowing something or not being able to measure something leaves room for other sorts of d [...]

  10. While searching for an appropriate stage setter for the next block of instruction at the School of Advanced Military Studies--Morality and War--I stumbled upon this fine book. I was pleased to discover that Gazzaniga’s metacognitive approach in describing the role of the brain as a complex “systems of systems” overlaps quite well with the evolution of art and science inherent in SAMS. In fact, Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain overlaps quite well with the creative th [...]

  11. Gazzaniga Michael é um médico que trabalhou com pacientes com o cérebro dividido em dois e descobriu em primeira mão como dois cérebros geram uma mente coerente e única. É um trabalho muito interessante e as histórias dos pacientes que ele conta são fantásticas. O livro realmente vale pela primeira metade, onde ele fala da nossa falta de livre-arbítrio, apesar da ilusão na direção contrária.Na segunda metade, o livro dá uma guinada para propriedades emergentes, interação social [...]

  12. The author's argument is that reductionist theories about the brain are wrong. Gazzaniga is not a determinist. The mind emerges from the physical brain; that mind is a whole that is greater than its parts. The end result is a feeling that "someone is in charge." We have free will and we are responsibile for our actions.Gazzaniga starts out in a way that suggests his alignment with the reductionist and deterministic viewpoints. He divides our mind into its unconscious and conscious roles and stat [...]

  13. This is an easily readable compilation of modern ideas about how our brains work and whether their function allows for free will and personal responsibility. The information presented is revealing and thought-provoking (at least for a relative layman like me), but it does not make a strong case for will and responsibility.The author points out many of the anatomical and functional capacities that distinguish human brains from those of other animals. The author posits that one potential basis for [...]

  14. This is not light reading (or, not for me anyway), but it is extremely interesting and profitable. Just last year, in "Incognito", David Eagleman indicated that some changes in legal procedures may need to take into account new findings in neuroscience. Toward the end of this book, Mr. Gazzaniga is more specific about the ways in which the unfolding findings of neuroscience are changing proceedings in the courtroom. By studying patients who have had the two hemispheres of the brain severed (usua [...]

  15. this book is a wonderful collection of interesting facts and glimpses into probably very complex theories, told by a brilliant neuroscientist in an actually pretty good and easy to read language. and that is very niceever, the book also slightly suffers structurally because of its "collection-like" nature. the arguments are stretched out between descriptions (that are necessary - book is written in a relatively popular language, thus, little knowledge can be assumed on the part of the reader) an [...]

  16. My advice for anyone who reads this book is to be sure and read the entire book carefully. In the first few chapters, Gazzaniga presents neurological determinism so convincingly that a careless reader might mistake it for the author's final position. Gazzaniga may also invite misunderstanding by titling Ch. 4 "Abandoning the Concept of Free Will," when a careful reading of the chapter shows that he really wants to "reframe the question about what it means to have free will." By the end of the ch [...]

  17. I attentively read about 1/3 of this book and skimmed the rest, for the sole reason that i had little time and needed specific information. But overall I can say this is a very interesting work, both dense in academic references from which one can build on later (i'm personally interested in "niche constructions") as well as a clear presentation for people with zero background in neurobiology. So it's a masterful diffusion of science to a larger audience interested in the inner workings of the b [...]

  18. A thorough argument, well delivered. Much was added to my knowledge on the subject. I enjoyed all the narrative-based examples. I especially enjoyed learning what possibilities the future holds for neuroscience.

  19. This is a book heavy on neruoscience but the author does a great job of carrying me forward. I didn't realize Michael Gazzaniga was the researcher involved in the first "split brain" patient studies. His perspective on brain mapping is fascinating. How evolution is tied to brain modules is explained. I was hoping for more on brain modules and how we interact with them but, oh well. His discussion of free will is a bit confused. There is a lot to yet be discovered. And who knows what will become [...]

  20. review: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 actionsA 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, [...]

  21. Unlike the fantastic philosopher Daniel C. Dennett who carved out a bit of elbow room for free will in a deterministic world, Gazzaniga blows past the idea as miscast and arcane. So while the title does say "Free Will" it's a bit misleading. This is a good neuroscience book that plays upon the notion of emergence to talk about personal responsibility and crime and punishment. In other words, minds interacting with minds through the social contract > the false notion of dualism or free will. V [...]

  22. Michael Gazzaniga can talk about the brain from the position of authority as he was there when most of the recent breakthroughs in neuroscience were made. "Who's in charge" gives a brief overview of recent research explaining some of the common questions about brain functioning. In particular, I liked the part where he was talking about the functions of the interpreter module. I found this book stimulating, captivating and in places liberating. It is a must-read.

  23. A great book. Just the introduction to neuroscience was amazing. If you want an accessible overview of our modern understanding of the brain, this is the place to start. The author's discussion of how we consider guilt and innocence in the context of our evolving understanding of the brain is also fascinating. Highly recommended. A fun and enlightening read.

  24. Excellent book; probably among the best I have read all year.I found the ebook on a bargain on , and thought it looked interesting. As I was reading it I happened to mention it to a professor of neuroscience and he informed me that Gazzaniga is a well-respected name in the field of neuroscience, which I had not known before I started.The book provides an engaging history of how we have come to understand what we do about the brain, from theories about a homunculus, to the idea of equipotentialit [...]

  25. Neuroscientist and Gifford Lecturer Michael S. Gazzinga explores the implications of the latest research in brain research, namely, that we live in a "determined" world, that our brains are governed by the laws of the physical world and not our conscious selves. If our conscious selves are not in control, we may not be responsible for our own actions.Despite the title, this book isn't really about free will. But it is a fantastic explanation of how our brains fill in gaps and make guesses, back- [...]

  26. If everything, including you and me, is made up of material that blindly obeys the inflexible laws of physics, then everything that happens, including what you and I do, is inevitable, and free will is something of an illusion or a joke.Right?Or are we just thinking of the question the wrong way?The free will conundrum takes a turn for the ridiculous when it assumes that free will is something that must take place outside of the material world that everything else resides in. The thought experim [...]

  27. Uno studio su determinismo, identità, libero arbitrio e responsabilità personale. Discorsivo e ben ragionato, con moltissimi spunti interessanti e contenuti informativi di rilievo. Imho, le conclusioni – per quanto intriganti e ben articolate - restano però elusive, non comprovate e pertanto prive di un vero valore aggiunto.Divagazioni: Che l’io sia narrativo, e probabilmente anche (in un certa misura di sanità mentale) discorsivo, le neuroscienze l’hanno ormai ampiamente dimostrato: i [...]

  28. The question from is 'What did you think?' The book is about thinking, or more accurately how the brain works. While I expected less brain physiology, Gazzaniga is correct in spending much more time on how the brain is organized, and that is the basis for his discussion of free will. He cites many studies over the past that have shown how the two halves of the brain work. Many of the studies are with patients that have had the half separated for medical reasons or with patients that have legion [...]

  29. Michael Gazzaniga is a veteran researcher in neuroscience, and has written on a wide range of topics related to the brain and the mind. However, after he dies, he will be remembered for one thing above all: the split-brain patients. In this book, based on a series of lectures, he takes on topics that get about as Big Picture as you can get: free will. The surprising thing, given the scope of his ambitions in taking on such a fundamental and difficult topic, is that he almost succeeds.Briefly, fo [...]

  30. No one person can answer the question of "Does free will exist?" because, as the author argues, that question is poorly defined. What counts as free will? What are we seeking freedom from when we desire that? You can try to replace that with asking about consciousness but you've just replaced vagueness with more vagueness. However this is a great read because as a researcher combines and presents modern neuroscience with his own opinions on the topic. Also, this is the guy who worked on the orig [...]

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