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William

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  • The Ethical Brain

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Gazzaniga
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    Will increased scientific understanding of our brains overturn our beliefs about moral and ethical behavior? How will increasingly powerful brain imaging technologies affect the ideas of privacy and of self-incrimination? Such thought-provoking questions are rapidly emerging as new discoveries in neuroscience have raised difficult legal and ethical dilemmas. Michael Gazzaniga, widely considered to be the father of cognitive neuroscience, investigates with an expert eye some of these controversial and complex issues.

    Derek says: "interesting stuff"
    "Few books make you worse for listening to them."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The only reason to listen to this is to find straw-man arguments that are easily assailed.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Power of Habit by Duhigg


    Which character – as performed by Patrick Lawlor – was your favorite?

    n/a


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Gazzaniga is clearly well versed in his speciality - neuroscience - but as soon as he ventures outside those bounds he is incredibly pedestrian.


    Any additional comments?

    Gazzaniga's attempts at philosophy, sociology, and anthropology are remarkably thoughtless. I'm not typically a review-writer, but feel compelled to warn others of this book's shortcomings which are many and manifest. His competence in his field is unquestioned - the neuroscience aspects were interesting. But anything beyond his expertise is painful. Unfortunately the majority of the book is Gazzaniga venturing outside his expertise.

    One example of the myriad: his support of embryonic stem cell research dismisses any actual discussion of the various sides with this metaphor: an embryo is like a human being like a home depot is like a house. There's so much wrong with this it's hard to know where to start. He is completely ignorant of the discussion on various types of potentiality and actuality that have been a part of philosophy for about 2500 years. The embryo will of its own devices fulfill its potentiality to become a fully formed human being. The home depot requires intervention from beyond itself to become a house. The embryo has active potentiality. The home depot has passive potentiality. The embryo becomes what it is supposed to be. The home depot becomes something completely different than what it is. It may be that this argument isn't convincing, but it clearly should be discussed.

    He's also apparently ignorant of the discussions of what makes an organism an organism - it's self-organization. This isn't a trivial problem. It's one of our leading neuroscientists who writes books on ethics and sat on the President's Bioethics Council being ignorant of basic philosophical concepts.

    Honestly, if you're looking for arguments that are easily shot down, take a listen. If you're looking to actually learn something, look elsewhere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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