Review: "The Future of the Brain" (BSP 9)


Show Notes for Episode 9

This episode is a discussion of The Future of the Brain: The Promise and Perils of Tomorrow's Neuroscience, by British neuroscientist, Steven Rose.  Unlike most episodes of the Brain Science Podcast, the emphasis of this episode is on asking what kind of ethical dilemmas might be posed by our increased knowledge of how the brain works.

Topics discussed:

  • Why the mind is more than the brain.
  • Why the mind is more than genetics and biochemistry.
  • How we still have a long way to go before we can fully understand how the brain-body generates the mind.
  • Problems and dangers of reductionism.
  • Implications for freedom and personal responsibility.
  • Examples from the history of science that demonstrate why these concerns are valid.
  • The "Paradox of Memory."
  • Some email from listeners.

One issue I only mention briefly on the podcast is Rose's attack on evolutionary psychology.  If you are interested in learning more about this, you might want to read the transcript of a debate between Steven Rose and Stephen Pinker, which was held in 1998.  It is on the Edge website, which is an interesting website even though it lacks an RSS feed.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy BSP 1-10 (zip file of mp3 files)
  • Transcripts: BSP 1-14
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.