Category Archives: neuroscience

A blast from the past

  by Matthew Cobb About six months ago, in the time before lockdown, I gave a talk about my then new book, The Idea of the Brain, at the Royal Institution in London. About a week later, the country went into lockdown and because the RI staff were furloughed, they could not work on the […]

New Scientist touts panpsychism

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” Proverbs 26:11 Matthew sent me a link to this new article in New Scientist. Yes, yet another credulous git has fallen for panpsychism. Click on the screenshot to read just the first three paragraphs (it’s paywalled, though the content of this […]

Five laudatory reviews of Matthew’s book

Matthew’s new book about the history of research on the brain is now out in both the UK and the US (Amazon links provided). I read it in advance and blurbed it; it’s very good. I’m not alone in my opinion, as the first five reviews that I know of all praise the book unstintingly. […]

A new BBC video on free will

The BBC has just begun a video series on free will, and, thanks to reader Tom C., I got a link to part 1 of 3. The BBC’s notes are these: There are many forces behind our everyday decisions. In a three part series we look at the hidden powers behind the choices we make. […]

An extract from Matthew’s new book

In a comment on this morning’s Hili post, reader “Snake” called attention to the publication in today’s Guardian of “The Long Read”, which happens to be a nice big extract from Matthew’s new book, The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience. The book will be out March 12 in the UK and April […]

Muddled philosopher: Consciousness could not have evolved

Here’s another philosopher who’s wrecked himself on the shoals of reason and logic when trying to deal with consciousness. Not all philosophers screw up when discussing issues of neuroscience, of course (Patricia Churchland and Dan Dennett are among those who are pretty much on the mark), but so often many of them simply look ridiculous, […]

The weirdness of split-brain experiments

I’m reading Annaka Harris‘s recent book Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind, which is a short but very readable and absorbing account of recent work on consciousness, both empirical and philosophical. Although she seems to have a weakness for panpsychism, I’m not yet through with that bit and so will […]

Sean Carroll vs. Philip Goff on panpsychism

Since we’ve been talking about panpsychism lately—that’s the theory that the entire Universe and its constituents are in some way conscious—I thought I’d post a podcast in which two opposing academics hash out the issues. I’ll be posting a bit more about panpsychism in the weeks to come as I read and learn more about […]

Oy! LiveScience touts panpsychism as the solution to the hard problem of consciousness

Until I read this piece, I always thought that LiveScience was a rigorous science site. Indeed, most of it is, but here’s an exception: a paean to “panpsychism”, the view that everything in the Universe, from electrons to elephants—indeed, the Universe as a whole—has a form of consciousness. The author of the article is Philip […]

The biology of sex differences in human brains and behaviors: a new book on “neurosexism”

For a while now I’ve written the occasional post about claims that there are no evolved and genetically based differences between male and female behaviors, brains, or hormones. This claim is based not on science but on ideology, stemming from the fear that if you show differences between men and women in these respects, you […]