The Ethical Brain

  • by Michael Gazzaniga
  • Narrated by Patrick Lawlor
  • 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Will increased scientific understanding of our brains overturn our beliefs about moral and ethical behavior? How will increasingly powerful brain imaging technologies affect the ideas of privacy and of self-incrimination? Such thought-provoking questions are rapidly emerging as new discoveries in neuroscience have raised difficult legal and ethical dilemmas. Michael Gazzaniga, widely considered to be the father of cognitive neuroscience, investigates with an expert eye some of these controversial and complex issues in The Ethical Brain.

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What the Critics Say

The enjoyable, thought-provoking book will introduce readers to complex interplay between neuroscience and ethics. (Science)
"None of the ideas are necessarily new in The Ethical Brain, but it is still an easy-to-read survey that treats the reader to an overview of the entire set of issues pertaining to morals and the brain." (Science and Theology News)
"Gazzaniga eschews easy answers in exploring the potential and limits of neuroscience." (USA Today)
"[The Ethical Brain] does not address practical ethical questions that may confront clinicians in daily practice. Nevertheless, the strength...is the author's perspective as a neuroscientist, which will introduce the reader to complex aspects of neuroscience in relation to behavior society." (Journal of the American Medica Association)
In The Ethical Brain, [Gazzaniga] does not shy away from taking on the loaded question...when does an embryo become a human being--"one of us"? His thoughtful discussion makes The Ethical Brain a worthwhile read." (San Jose Mercury)
"Michael S. Gazzaniga takes an unflinching lok at the interface between neuroscience and ethics, and offers his own thoughtful perspective on some of the tough questions. (Media Times Review Blog)
The Ethical Brain provides us with cautions--prominent among them that 'neuroscience will never find the brain correlate of responsibility, because that is something we ascribe to humans--to people--not to brains. It is a moral value we demand of our fellow, rule-following human beings.' This statement--coming as it does from so eminent a neuroscientist--is a cultural contirbution in itself." (The New York Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

interesting stuff

While I don't agree with all of the author's conclusions, implied as they may be, I learned much from this book as a left brain. And while I am what would be called "pro-life," on the abortion issue, Dr. Gazzaniga presents the debate in a way that really forces one to think it through without emotion.

The question of when life begins, in terms of the brain is really out there. It's kind of like looking up at the stars on a clear night and wondering how it all began.

But the book covers many other aspects of the brain, behavior, and ethical implications which are well thought out and presented. If anybody thinks that George Bush was "anti-science" they should take a listen to this by a man who was appointed by Bush to his Council on Bioethics.
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- Derek

Philosophically unsound, misguided reasoning

This book was so bad I had to switch it off after only 30 minutes because I got so frustrated I almost drove my car off the road while listening to it. It's philosophically unsound -- although the author claims to have much to say about ethics he clearly hasn't read much on the subject. His ideas on neurophilosophy are similarly unsound. Lots of unclarified assumptions and 'common sense' reasoning that doesn't help anyone. Bummer I bought it!
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- B.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-31-2008
  • Publisher: Dana Press