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Now is a Great Time to be Studying Human Nature

I think that this is a very exciting time to be studying human nature.  Often people say it’s exciting because of the tremendous breakthroughs we’re making in understanding the brain and the new technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging. But I disagree with that, that it’s the new breakthroughs in our study of the brain that are making this an interesting time.

But there is no question that the international community of neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, linguists and philosophers and others who are devoting themselves to these questions is more vibrant than it has been ever before. I want to underline that my own criticism of recent neuro-scientific approaches to consciousness is not a criticism of the scientific study of consciousness.  It’s urging that the science gets better and that it shed certain straight jacketing individualistic, internalistic assumptions, assumptions that are really holding a general science of human nature back.

But I'm very optimistic that we can make breakthroughs precisely by trying to take steps in the direction of a more integrated, contextualized neuroscience of consciousness.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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