icon
icon
icon
icon
Book Info
left icon
setting icon
Determined book image
Science

Determined

By Robert M. Sapolsky

book iconPenguin

Description

The instant New York Times bestseller

“Excellent…Outstanding for its breadth of research, the liveliness of the writing, and the depth of humanity it conveys.” – Wall Street Journal

One of our great behavioral scientists, the bestselling author of Behave, plumbs the depths of the science and philosophy of decision-making to mount a devastating case against free will, an argument with profound consequences


Robert Sapolsky’s Behave, his now classic account of why humans do good and why they do bad, pointed toward an unsettling conclusion: We may not grasp the precise marriage of nature and nurture that creates the physics and chemistry at the base of human behavior, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Now, in Determined, Sapolsky takes his argument all the way, mounting a brilliant (and in his inimitable way, delightful) full-frontal assault on the pleasant fantasy that there is some separate self telling our biology what to do.

Determined offers a marvelous synthesis of what we know about how consciousness works—the tight weave between reason and emotion and between stimulus and response in the moment and over a life. One by one, Sapolsky tackles all the major arguments for free will and takes them out, cutting a path through the thickets of chaos and complexity science and quantum physics, as well as touching ground on some of the wilder shores of philosophy. He shows us that the history of medicine is in no small part the history of learning that fewer and fewer things are somebody’s “fault”; for example, for centuries we thought seizures were a sign of demonic possession.

Yet, as he acknowledges, it’s very hard, and at times impossible, to uncouple from our zeal to judge others and to judge ourselves. Sapolsky applies the new understanding of life beyond free will to some of our most essential questions around punishment, morality, and living well together. By the end, Sapolsky argues that while living our daily lives recognizing that we have no free will is going to be monumentally difficult, doing so is not going to result in anarchy, pointlessness, and existential malaise. Instead, it will make for a much more humane world.

Readers

Peter Trizuliak
1

Reviews

Notes

close icon
Sign In
close icon
Select Languages

Which languages of books would you like to see on the main feed?

All Languages
English
Español
Français
Português
हिन्दी
العربية
中文
日本語
한국어
close icon
Share Links
close icon
Share Review
close icon
Comments
No comments yet