The Great Simplification #88 – Robert Sapolsky: “The Brain, Determinism, and Cultural Implications”

| September 20, 2023 | Leave a Comment

The Great Simplification

Item Link: Access the Resource

Date of Publication: September 13

Year of Publication: 2023

Publisher: The Great Simplification

Author(s): Nate Hagens

In this episode, neuroscientist and author Robert Sapolsky joins Nate to discuss the structure of the human brain and its implication on behavior and our ability to change. Dr. Sapolsky also unpacks how the innate quality of a biological organism shaped by evolution and the surrounding environment – meaning all animals, including humans – leads him to believe that there is no such thing as free will, at least how we think about it today. How do our past and present hormone levels, hunger, stress, and more affect the way we make decisions? What implications does this have in a future headed towards lower energy and resource availability? How can our species manage the mismatch of our evolutionary biology with our modern-day challenges – and navigate through a ‘determined’ future?

About Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. Over the past thirty years, he has divided his time between the lab, where he studies how stress hormones can damage the brain, and in East Africa, where he studies the impact of chronic stress on the health of baboons. Sapolsky is the author of several books, including Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, A Primate’s Memoir, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, and his newest book coming out in October, Determined: Life Without Free Will. He lives with his family in San Francisco.

Listen to the podcast here and to previous episodes here.

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