How do we become who we are? Is there something written into our genetic code that determines who we will be and what decisions we will make? Or are we ruled by our environment and circumstances? Do we really possess free will, or is it an illusion?
If you’ve ever pondered these existential questions, then you’re going to want to tune in to episode #136 of The Author’s Corner. Robin is joined by world renowned brain scientist George Paxinos who has devoted his life’s work to investigating these questions. They discuss the idea of free will, human exceptionalism, genetics, and the environment, and how they all come together to form who we are today.
- The role that innovation plays in our brain chemistry
- Using animal models to understand human brains
- The importance of understanding who we are
- The double edged sword of human exceptionalism and hubris
- Does free will really exist?
- And more!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- George’s novel, A River Divided
- Immanuel Kant’s ethical commandant “know thyself”
- The Story of Sisyphus
About George Paxinos:
George Paxinos studied at Berkeley, McGill and Yale and is Professor of Medical Sciences at Neuroscience Research Australia and The University of New South Wales, Sydney. He was President of the Australian Neuroscience Society and the World Congress of Neuroscience. He has identified and named more brain areas than anyone in history and published 57 books—his first, The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, is the most cited publication in neuroscience and, for decades, the third most cited science book of all time. His Atlas of the Human Brain received awards from the Association of American Publishers and the British Medical Association. His atlases and concepts of brain organization are used by most scientists working on the relationship between the brain and cognition, emotion, motivation and thought, including neurologic or psychiatric diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression. His most recent book, A River Divided, is a novel that combines his activist and scientific background.
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