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

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

Michael S. Gazzaniga

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0061906115

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“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.















brain: It is what is expected for a primate of our size and does not possess relatively more neurons.† They also found that the ratio between nonneuronal brain cells and neurons in human brain structures is similar to those found in other primates, and the numbers of cells match those expected for a primate of human proportions. In fact, instead of humans being the outliers among the primates with a larger-than-expected brain for body size, they concluded that embarrassingly for orangutans and

spot, the toaster is unrecognizable. There are even people with certain brain lesions who specifically cannot recognize fruit. Harvard researchers Alfonso Caramazza and Jennifer Shelton claim that the brain has specific knowledge systems (modules) for animate and inanimate categories that have distinct neural mechanisms. These domain-specific knowledge systems aren’t actually the knowledge itself, but systems that make you pay attention to particular aspects of situations, and by doing so,

practicing the piano, or any other instrument, and memorizing a piece? Once you had practiced a piece, your fingers could really fly until you made a mistake and consciously tried to correct what you did wrong. Then, you could barely even remember what note was next. You were better off starting all over and hoping that your fingers would make it past the rough patch on their own. This is why good teachers warn their students not to stop when they make a mistake while playing in a recital, just

at those who champion one model over the other and instead champions the idea that they are both needed and are complementary to each other. “I am using complementary here in Boltzmann’s and Bohr’s sense of logical irreducibility. That is, complementary models are formally incompatible but both necessary. One model cannot be derived from, or reduced to, the other. Chance cannot be derived from necessity, nor necessity from chance, but both concepts are necessary. . . . It is for this reason that

boss’s house. The key to understanding emergence is to understand that there are different levels of organization. My favorite analogy is that of the car, which I have mentioned before. If you look at an isolated car part, such as a cam shaft, you cannot predict that the freeway will be full of traffic at 5:15 P.M. Monday through Friday. In fact, you could not even predict the phenomenon of traffic would ever occur if you just looked at a brake pad. You cannot analyze traffic at the level of car

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