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21 people found this helpful
A little outdated but still a good read
on 11 August 2017
I read 'incognito' published in 2011,after reading 'the brain, the story of you', which was published in 2015, so I guess the author may have redeemed himself in his later work. I found his arguments about our lack of free will disappointing especially when he cites cases of crimes committed in the presence of brain pathology to advance his argument. A verdict of not criminally responsible NCR or not guilty for reason of insanity NGRI can be given to the man who killed his wife and mother before shooting other strangers and then killing himself. The fact that he was found to have a brain tumour at autopsy ( which he clearly requested for in his suicide note to find the cause of his personality changes) completely exonerates him from blame. Automatism is another well recognised reason for an NCR or NGRI verdict and this does not mean that we don't have free will in the absence of brain disease. The author delved into reductionist theories often championed by neuroscientists who are not actually clinicians and therefore do not have the privilege of knowing the patient's psychological and social predisposing and perpetuating factors. Neuroscientists have suddenly left their field of biology to delve into psychology and sociology while dancing to the gallery in a bid to impress patients about their knowledge of the brain. The problem is that the brain doesn't constitute the entire person just like your laptop computer does not explain the complexity of the internet and the World Wide Web. David Eagleman eventually concluded the book by accepting the limitations of neurobiology alone to explain the whole individual. The book is worth reading but a lot of his ideas have been overtaken by new developments in psychiatry and neurobiology.