Thursday, July 18, 2013

Robert Burton: "A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind", Talks at Google


Robert Burton, author of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not (2009), has a new book, A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves, and he recently spoke about the book at Google.

As a bonus, you can also catch his discussion of his previous book, On Being Certain, at Authors at Google, June 9, 2008 [see below].


Robert Burton: "A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind", Talks at Google


Published on Jul 15, 2013

Despite 2500 years of contemplation by the world's greatest minds and the more recent phenomenal advances in basic neuroscience, neither neuroscientists nor philosophers have a decent understanding of what the mind is or how it works. Nevertheless, with powerful new tools such as the fMRI scan, neuroscience has become the de facto mode of explanation of behavior.

In A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind, Robert Burton brings together clinical observations, practical thought experiments, personal anecdotes, and cutting-edge neuroscience to decipher what neuroscience can tell us about ourselves-- and where it falls woefully short. At the same time, he offers a new vision of how to think about what the mind might be and how it works.

A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind is a critical, startling, and expansive journey into the mysteries of the brain and what makes us human.

About the Author: 

Robert Burton, M.D. graduated from Yale University and University of California at San Francisco medical school, where he also completed his neurology residency. At age 33, he was appointed chief of the Division of Neurology at Mt. Zion-UCSF Hospital, where he subsequently became Associate Chief of the Department of Neurosciences. His non-neurology writing career includes three critically acclaimed novels and On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not. He lives in Sausalito, California.

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Authors@Google: Robert Burton - On Being Certain

Uploaded on Jun 11, 2008

Dr. Robert Burton visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book "On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not." This event took place on June 9, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series.

In On Being Certain, neurologist Robert Burton challenges the notions of how we think about what we know. He shows that the feeling of certainty we have when we "know" something comes from sources beyond our control and knowledge. In fact, certainty is a mental sensation, rather than evidence of fact. Because this "feeling of knowing" seems like confirmation of knowledge, we tend to think of it as a product of reason. But an increasing body of evidence suggests that feelings such as certainty stem from primitive areas of the brain, and are independent of active, conscious reflection and reasoning. The feeling of knowing happens to us; we cannot make it happen.

Robert Burton, M.D. graduated from Yale University and University of California at San Francisco medical school, where he also completed his neurology residency. At age 33, he was appointed chief of the Division of Neurology at Mt. Zion-UCSF Hospital, where he subsequently became Associate Chief of the Department of Neurosciences. His non-neurology writing career includes three critically acclaimed novels. He lives in Sausalito, California. Visit his website at http://www.rburton.com.
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