One of the world's leading neuroscientists explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives.
What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In his widely accessible style, Michael Gazzaniga looks to a broad range of studies to pinpoint the change that made us thinking, sentient humans, different from our predecessors.
Neuroscience has been fixated on the life of the psychological self for the past fifty years, focusing on the brain systems underlying language, memory, emotion, and perception. What it has not done is consider the stark reality that most of the time we humans are thinking about social processes, comparing ourselves to and estimating the intentions of others. In Human, Gazzaniga explores a number of related issues, including what makes human brains unique, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.
Table of Contents
The Basics of Human Life
Are Human Brains Unique?
Would a Chimp Make a Good Date?
Navigating the Social World
Big Brains and Expanding Social Relationships
The Moral Compass Within
I Feel Your Pain
The Glory of Being Human
What's Up with the Arts?
We All Act like Dualists: The Converter Function
Is Anybody There?
Beyond Current Constraints
Who Needs Flesh?
Michael S. Gazzaniga is the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California–Santa Barbara and its Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and he lives in California.