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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.

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What Makes the Mind and Brain Different?

June 2, 2013, 10:30 AM
Brain_art

What's the Latest Development?

Given the power of neuroscience to fascinate the public, it might seem that the brain has given us a window into human nature. Indeed we often look to brain scan images to help us understand what chemicals are working on the brain, and therefore on the body, in conditions ranging from Alzheimer's to drug addiction. But the brain and the mind are different frameworks. "The neurobiological domain is one of brains and physical causes, the mechanisms behind our thoughts and emotions. The psychological domain, the realm of the mind, is one of peopletheir desires, intentions, ideals, and anxieties."

What's the Big Idea?

The principle difference in these frameworks is freewill. Students of the mind, beginning with William James and Sigmund Freud, have recognized we have less freewill than we think we do. However, the ability to choose one's own behavior, even to a limited extent, is deeply ingrained in our culture, yielding principles like freedom and responsibility which underpin our system of laws and justice. Biologist Robert Sapolsky has argued that "our growing knowledge about the brain makes the notions of volition, culpability, and, ultimately, the very premise of the criminal justice system, deeply suspect." But should we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at the Atlantic

 

What Makes the Mind and Bra...

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