Je pense donc je suis. (I think, therefore I am.)
Who is this I?
How do I know that it is thinking?
What does it even mean to say that I am—that I exist, if it’s this mysterious, untrustworthy Ithat says so?
To be fair, René Descartes didn’t invent these problems. but In the centuries after his death, his thought experiments sent philosophers, psychologists and later on, neuroscientists reeling and spiraling down a seemingly bottomless chasm In search of Consciousness. What is it? Where is it? How did it get there? Surely that icky grey-green stuff can’t fully account for the sublime perfection of Beethoven’s Ninth!
If you’ve ever heard that there are differences between the left and the right brain, you can blame my guest today, Michael Gazzaniga, who did many of the pioneering studies in this area. Now he’s after even bigger game.
In his new book The Consciousness Instinct he lays a conceptual framework for closing the gap between the meat of the brain and the magic of Consciousness, and maybe saving us a lot of future headaches.
Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:
About Think Again – A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.
You’ve got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we’re pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think’s interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.
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