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‘Free Will,’ by Sam Harris But the last half-century has seen this ancient subject pulled down from its academic perch and into courtrooms, laboratories, real-world questions about moral responsibility, and even popular culture. (It forms the plot of such contemporary movies as “Minority Report” and “The Adjustment Bureau.”) Over the last few decades, procedures for measuring, imaging and analyzing mental processes have grown in number and subtlety. During this same period, books for the general reader about the brain and its functions, consciousness and will, thought and reasoning have proliferated. We have Daniel Dennett, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Cordelia Fine, Oliver Sacks, Michael Gazzaniga, Daniel Kahneman and scores of others explaining, and extrapolating from, new findings in neuroscience and almost always addressing the matter of free will.
Neural correlates of consciousness Figure 1: The Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) are the minimal set of neural events and structures – here synchronized action potentials in neocortical pyramidal neurons – sufficient for a specific conscious percept or a conscious (explicit) memory. From Koch (2004). The Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) can be defined as the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any one specific conscious percept (Crick & Koch 1990). The Neurobiological Approach to Consciousness The Dark Side of the Moon (Landing) Some dispute that the U.S. sent a man to the moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is the second man to walk on the moon’s surface in 1969 By Judy Berman Over eight days during July 1969, all eyes were on Apollo 11, when it became the first manned mission to land on the moon. More than 40 years after this historic event, about 6 percent of Americans still dispute that we ever set foot on the moon.
Is Free Will an Illusion? Sam Harris on His New Book Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is the stud you love to hate—at least onscreen. As Jaime Lannister, the rakish, incestuous “Kingslayer” on Game of Thrones, he’s an object of attraction (devilishly handsome) and derision (he loves his sister). On Sunday night’s episode, the pendulum swung towards the latter when he sexually assaulted his sister, Cersei, beside the altar of their dead love child, Joffrey. He’s not much better in The Other Woman. In Nick Cassavetes’s comedy, the Danish actor plays Alex King, a suave, Maserati-driving, bespoke suit-wearing angel investor who cheats on his adoring wife, Kate (Leslie Mann), with two other beauties—a career-minded lawyer, Carly (Cameron Diaz), and a young hottie, Amber (Kate Upton).
What Is Consciousness? Neuroscientist May Have Answer to the Big Question Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Lightspring The following is an excerpt from the new bookConsciousness and the Social Brain by Michael S. A. Graziano (Oxford University Press, 2015): Shop ▾ I was in the audience watching a magic show. Why Lead Used to Be Added To Gasoline Today I found out why lead used to be added to gasoline. “Tetraethyl lead” was used in early model cars to help reduce engine knocking, boost octane ratings, and help with wear and tear on valve seats within the motor. Due to concerns over air pollution and health risks, this type of gas was slowly phased out starting in the late 1970’s and banned altogether in all on-road vehicles in the U.S. in 1995. For a more detailed explanation of why lead used to be added to gasoline, it’s necessary to understand a little bit more about gasoline and what properties make it a good combustion material in car engines. Gasoline itself is a product of crude oil that is made of carbon atoms joined together into carbon chains.
Hallucinations with Oliver Sacks Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks answers your questions about the secret world of hallucinations. These queries came to us via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. Q. Are the visual or auditory hallucinations in blind or deaf people analogous to sensations in a phantom limb? The Roots of Consciousness: Theory, Consciousness and the New Physics Consciousness and the New Physics Space-Time According to Einstein The special theory of relativity, formulated by Albert Einstein in 1905, is based on the experimentally confirmed idea that the velocity of light is the same universal constant, c= 3x1010 cm./sec., for all observers who move uniformly in straight lines relative to each other. Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic ON THE evening before All Saints' Day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. In those days a thesis was simply a position one wanted to argue. Luther, an Augustinian friar, asserted that Christians could not buy their way to heaven. Today a doctoral thesis is both an idea and an account of a period of original research.
Kurt Vonnegut term paper assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Buck Squibb. Suzanne McConnell, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s students in his “Form of Fiction” course at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, saved this assignment, explaining that Vonnegut “wrote his course assignments in the form of letters, as a way of speaking personally to each member of the class.” The result is part assignment, part letter, part guide to writing and life. The Noosphere (Part I): Teilhard de Chardin’s Vision A depiction of the Noosphere One of the key concepts of Teilhard de Chardin’s philosophy is the noosphere, which Teilhard believes is the next phase of human evolution. Today is the first of a three part series discussing the noosphere: Part I: Teilhard de Chardin’s Vision Part II: Christian Concepts of the Noosphere Part III: Future Evolution of the Noosphere The term noosphere derives from the Greek νοῦς (nous “mind”) and σφαῖρα (sphaira “sphere”), and is related to the terms geosphere (inanimate matter) and biosphere (biological life).