All In The Mind – 21 June 2008 – Michael Gazzaniga: Split brains and other…

Ξ June 25th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized |


People talk about free will, you should return the question and say free from what, what are you talking about? I mean what we all are, are information gathering organisms that have learned through a life's experience what to do, what not to do, what's good, what's bad, does this pay off versus that payoff? And when a new situation presents itself we call upon our knowledge of the world from past experience to decide what to do. And that decision goes on through mechanisms of the brain, and once the brain decides, based on all your past experience, to do something, you want it to do it right. It's not clear to me what free will means in that way of knowing that we have all these automatic processes that are going on in the brain that we've trained through time.

I think how you think about it is that personal responsibility, which is a key concept in our culture, is alive and well because it really isn't in your brain, it's in the social rules of a group. So think of it this way, if you're the only person in the world, the concept of personal responsibility means nothing. Who are you responsible to? If there are two people to six billion, all of a sudden the rules develop. If we are going to socially interact, which is crucial for the human condition, we are going to have these rules. Almost everybody--you'd have to be extremely neurologically compromised--almost everybody can follow a rule.

 

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