Start reading Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain [Kindle Edition]

Michael S. Gazzaniga
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $10.67
You Save: $6.32 (37%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $4.49 after you buy the Kindle book. Learn More

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $10.67  
Hardcover, Bargain Price $9.91  
Paperback $13.54  
MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged $26.99  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $23.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

“Big questions are Gazzaniga’s stock in trade.”
New York Times

“Gazzaniga is one of the most brilliant experimental neuroscientists in the world.”
—Tom Wolfe

“Gazzaniga stands as a giant among neuroscientists, for both the quality of his research and his ability to communicate it to a general public with infectious enthusiasm.”
—Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News

The author of Human, Michael S. Gazzaniga has been called the “father of cognitive neuroscience.” In his remarkable book, Who’s in Charge?, he makes a powerful and provocative argument that counters the common wisdom that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes we cannot control. His well-reasoned case against the idea that we live in a “determined” world is fascinating and liberating, solidifying his place among the likes of Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio, V.S. Ramachandran, and other bestselling science authors exploring the mysteries of the human brain.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fascinating affirmation of our essential humanity." ---Kirkus

Review

"A fascinating affirmation of our essential humanity."--Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 458 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061906115
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UD1EVG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,309 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
186 of 202 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lively book with three main weaknesses December 19, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This easy-to-read book is skilfully written for a lay readership by a veteran cognitive neuroscientist, famous for his work on split brain patients. The elogious reviews of Alan Sewell, J. Gomez and others spell out in detail its numerous merits. I agree with many of those positive comments, but rather than repeating them I would like to focus on three weaknesses.

First, in tackling a subject at the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy, the author needed to draw on modern scholarship in both areas. But he fails in this. He describes the work of dozens of modern neuroscientists and psychologists, and briefly mentions a few classical philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, Locke), but has nothing to say about modern philosophical scholarship. There is no mention at all of the contributions of philosophers such as Dennett, Van Inwagen, Kane, Kim, Murphy and Miele, who have all written extensively on the philosophical questions that the book attempts to address (free will, emergence, selfhood, complementarity and downward causation).

Second, Gazzaniga fails to define what he means by "free will". This is a serious defect, because the definitional problem is central to the modern debate about free will. I'm not by any means a Dennett fan, but the subtitle of Dennetts's 1984 book Elbow Room was a true aphorism: "The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting". Some varieties don't exist but others do, and those are in Dennett's view (and mine) the ones worth wanting.

Third, in introducing chaos and quantum indeterminism as a defence against hard determinism, Gazzaniga attempts to guide the unsophisticated layman through a deep and difficult controversy, all in eight pages.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
We humans love our dualisms: good or evil, hot or cold, free or determined. Who's in Charge?, a book extrapolated from the author's 2009/10 Gifford Lectures, is a book that questions that last dualism. Given what we know about the brain, Gazzaniga writes, it is not quite clear whether the idea of 'free will' really makes sense (as generally conceived) or if determinism really has the implications we usually think it does.

Here is the picture Gazzaniga (roughly) paints. Marshaling much evidence from his and others' studies, it appears that our brain is something like a collection of modules performing different functions WITHOUT that 'central command' module that is supposed to approximate the free will (like a president who has final signing or veto power over bills). Moreover, that feeling we have of a unified conscious experience is most likely the result not of a 'central commander' module, but a module (appropriately) referred to as 'the interpreter,' whose role is to construct (somewhat) post hoc explanations of why we did what we did AS IF we were really conscious in doing it. Here, Gazzaniga draws on research of split-brain patients, whose corpus collossums are severed, disallowing their left and right brain hemispheres from talking to each other. Studies show that when the right hemisphere is told to do something (say, the left eye is shown a word and the patient is asked to grab the object that they are shown from an array of objects), the left hemisphere (where the interpreter is) will often construct a rationale for why the patient grabbed the object (that has nothing to do with the instructions to the right hemisphere). For a simpler example of the interpreter in action, think about when you hit your thumb with a hammer.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
124 of 145 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first question is whether a layperson can enjoy this book about such a profoundly complex subject as the human brain and its relationship to sentient consciousness. The answer is YES! Not because the hyper-complex nature of the subject is "dumbed down" but because Michael Gazzaniga is a gifted writer talented in expressing the most complex ideas in easy-to-understand sentences. He has a most delightful sense of humor that conveys his insights in a light-hearted and enjoyable manner.

Let me also say up front that this book is useful in explaining how the brain operates on two levels. Gazzaniga explains how the "right brain" is driven by the senses and acts on an immediate, subconscious level. The "left brain" applies a conscious after-the-fact reasoning that attempts to make sense of the actions that the subconscious mind has already taken. The left-brain's "interpreter module" is always at work inventing theories to "explain" what the right half of the brain has already "decided" on the basis of reflexive subconscious instinct.

Gazzaniga gives powerful examples of how easily the "interpreter module" can be deceived into coming to false conclusions. Suffice it to say that our brains can work against us by making poor decisions on the basis of perceived information that is false or unreliable. Understanding how the conscious mind rationalizes decisions that the subconscious mind has already acted on has relevance in helping us to make better decisions in every aspect of life. The book should be read for this reason alone. It explains how our conscious mind is far more fallible than we ever imagined.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's in Charge - I am still not sure !!
Heavy Stuff but if you can have some background reading similar books, go for it. Otherwise, wait for you to have a mid life crisis and then get into such books. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Pathfinder
5.0 out of 5 stars Gazzaniga nails it!
The free will/determinism dichotomy has always bothered me. Gazzaniga reframes the issue in terms of Complexity Theory (a.k.a. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Gazzaniga hits another home run!
Gazzaniga gives us a wonderful, thought provoking book which forces the reader to examine complex systems and the ways in which they apply to brain function. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kendra
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny as. heck
Now that science has reached the truth it doesn't know what to do with it! Funny as.heck.
Published 1 month ago by cameron
4.0 out of 5 stars Dry, but life changing.
This was a tough read because it it's highly technical and specific, but I'm so very happy that I took the time to get through it and learn so much about the mind and the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Seen On Radio
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book
It's a stimulating and challenging book which will make you think about the why and the who, are you really in charge of your action and thoughts? Read more
Published 1 month ago by lele7design
5.0 out of 5 stars accurate framing of the "problem" of Free Will
Mr. G is a clear thinker and writer. I am encumbered with a scientific education ( physics), and have often wrestled with reductionist views. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Walter Bouldin
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent perspective
To think is, actually, beyond feeling. It is an emergence from experiencing, via the senses, where feelings can be contained. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Quiana
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Moves fast!
I thoroughly enjoyed Gazzaniga. My first time reading his stuff, he's very easy to read, his erudition on the subject is up there, thanks!
Published 3 months ago by Roland Delao
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly thought through
Although Gazzangia presents a fascinating account of the neurology of the human mind---a very engrossing read---he fails completely to live up to the book's suggested subject and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?



Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category