145. Michael Gazzaniga (neuroscientist) – The Impossible Problem


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Je pense donc je suis. (I think, therefore I am.)
Who is this I?
How do I know that it is thinking?
What does it even mean to say that I am—that I exist, if it's this mysterious, untrustworthy Ithat says so?
To be fair, René Descartes didn't invent these problems. but In the centuries after his death, his thought experiments sent philosophers, psychologists and later on, neuroscientists reeling and spiraling down a seemingly bottomless chasm In search of Consciousness. What is it? Where is it? How did it get there? Surely that icky grey-green stuff can't fully account for the sublime perfection of Beethoven's Ninth!
If you've ever heard that there are differences between the left and the right brain, you can blame my guest today, Michael Gazzaniga, who did many of the pioneering studies in this area. Now he's after even bigger game.
In his new book The Consciousness Instinct he lays a conceptual framework for closing the gap between the meat of the brain and the magic of Consciousness, and maybe saving us a lot of future headaches.
Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:
Leonard Mlodinow on your brain and original thinking

Johann Hari on inequality and depression/anxiety

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