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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

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

Michael Gazzaniga (photo by Joseph Mehler)

DO WE HAVE FREE WILL or are our lives simply determined by the same physical laws that control the world around us? For the most part, science has embraced the determinist point of view. But the U.C. Santa Barbara psychologist Michael S. Gazzaniga—the man Tom Wolfe has called “one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world”—is not convinced. Gazzaniga argues that the human mind acts to constrain the brain and monitor our behavior, much as a government, created by a society, provides constraints on those who conceived it. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, as well as ethics and law, he offers a deeply considered case for human responsibility: we are accountable for our actions.

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