What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

How Law Would Work Without Free Will

June 26, 2011, 9:04 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Neuroscience is beginning to unlock the secrets behind the most aberrant criminal behavior. Its findings are disrupting our legal system, which continues to insist that everyone is equal before the letter of the law, beneath the banners of volition and culpability. "This myth of human equality suggests that people are equally capable of controlling impulses, making decisions, and comprehending consequences. While admirable in spirit, the notion of neural equality is simply not true," says David Eagleman, neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine. 

What's the Big Idea?

How can our justice system adapt to what neuroscience tells us about human behavior, and thereby be more just? Eagleman says it must not be satisfied with being punitive in nature and should instead be more forward thinking. How can courts prescribe sentences that, using scientific data, work to rehabilitate convicts rather than simply incarcerate them? Eagleman proposes informing criminals of how their brains work, using brain scans to show them which parts activate when they are thinking of committing a crime. In this way, he says, they can work to influence their own thought patterns away from bad behavior.


How Law Would Work Without ...

Newsletter: Share: