Monday, April 18, 2011

on mind, brain, freedom, responsibility, and justice

Check out Peter's review of David Eagleman's Incognito at Conscious Entities. Interesting bit:

In fact Eagleman’s main purpose is to change our view of moral responsibility and legal responses to crime. He spends some time quoting examples of people who committed crimes under the influence of drugs or brain tumours, and recounts the well-known story of Phineas Gage, whose behaviour was changed for the worse when a tamping iron was accidentally fired through his brain. This last example perhaps needs to be handled with a little more care than Eagleman gives it, as there are reasons for a degree of scepticism about how changed or how bad Gage’s behaviour became. Eagleman foresees a day when neuroscience will make it impossible to hang on to the idea that free will means anything or that anyone is ultimately responsible for anything – or as [he] puts it blameworthy. I think Eagleman is giving up too quickly: without re-fighting the Free Will issue, aren’t there special faculties of planning and decision-making which conscious humans have and other creatures lack? If so, isn’t it worth appealing to them, and isn’t blame a tool for doing so?


1 comment:

John from Daejeon said...

If you missed "Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe" last night, it airs a couple of more times this week on USA.

Tue, Apr 19 12:05 AM
Fri, Apr 22 11:00 PM
Sat, Apr 23 2:00pm

I wouldn't call it great, but it was definitely watchable.