Brain Science Is Our Modern Bible

At least in the sense that it is overturning old doctrines, like folk psychology, and attracting legions of people seeking answers to contemporary philosophical and spiritual questions.

What's the Latest Development?


The force with which brain science has come to frame the debate around many age-old questionsqueries about ethics, free will, the mind-body problem, etc.is partly the result of how two of its most passionate advocates explain their point of view. Paul and Patricia Churchland, who are husband and wife as well as professors at UC Berkeley, often speak "on the importance to ethics of the neurochemicals associated with mammalian emotions, such as oxytocin, dopamine, vasopressin, serotonin and adrenalin."

What's the Big Idea?

The idea that brain chemistry determines many of the thoughts and actions we typically consider to be made freely, after a mixture of reason and emotion points us in a particular directions, has wide ranging consequences for society. Our justice system, for example, is premised on the idea that individuals are free to choose between right and wrong behavior. And we hardly think of love as the emergent property of the brain chemical oxytocin. Still, when it comes to human motivation, Churchland says: "There is only the brain."

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

Videos
  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.