The Self Beyond Itself
An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences, and the Myth of Free Will
By Heidi M. Ravven
(New Press, Hardcover, 9781595585370, 507pp.)
Publication Date: May 2013
List Price: $31.95*
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In a work of breathtaking intellectual sweep and erudition, Ravven offers a riveting and accessible review of cutting-edge neuroscientific research into the brain's capacity for decision-making--from "mirror" neurons and "self-mapping" to surprising new understandings of group psychology. "The Self Beyond Itself" also introduces readers to a rich, alternative philosophical tradition of ethics, rooted in the writing of Baruch Spinoza, that finds uncanny confirmation in modern science.
Illustrating the results of today's research with real-life examples, taking readers from elementary school classrooms to Nazi concentration camps, Ravven demonstrates that it is possible to build a theory of ethics that doesn't rely on free will yet still holds both individuals and groups responsible for the decisions that help create a good society. "The Self Beyond Itself" is that rare book that injects new ideas into an old debate--and helps us consider anew our understanding of ourselves and of our world.