Deceptive Brain, The
We are not whom we seem to be. Not even close.
Preposterous as it sounds, we are not who we seem to be.
Not even close. At the heart of this misperception is our deep-seated conviction of free choice. Based on emerging neurobehavioral science findings, The Deceptive Brain makes the case for human experience as a narrative illusion—an executive summary of sorts—that emerges from an incredibly complex brain.
The Deceptive Brain drills down on what this finding means for the way we blame and punish, and presents a bold alternative approach to criminal justice based on blameless responsibility.
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The Deceptive Brain by Robert Taylor is an academic book perfect for anyone in the social science industry either working in or studying social sciences and/or criminality and the criminal justice system. As a criminologist myself (student) it was an interesting read. This book encourages us to look at the American criminal justice system in a different way with blameless responsibility. The idea is that we are not blameworthy for crimes we commit but are responsible. This can seem absurd to many, as the writer himself admits, but once you have read this book I am sure you will look at the criminal justice system in a different way. I liked this book as Taylor is obviously talking about a topic that many of us would laugh about if you considered such a criminal justice system, but throughout this book, the ideology and evidence to support this type of criminal justice system is logically presented suggesting why this blameless responsibility model could work. I do not have any criticisms for this book but would say this book is best for academics studying the social sciences in particular as this is a very academic style book. I really enjoyed this as both a Psychology and Criminology student..... ~ Charlie Medcalf (Reviewer), NetGalley
Readers of Dr Taylors The Deceptive Brain will certainly find the questions he imparts intriguing. ~ BuNEKE Magazine, Review
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The conclusion to The Deceptive Brain: Blame, Punishment and the Illusion of Choice” by Robert Taylor opens with a quote from Daniel Kahneman, “The world makes much less sense than you think. The coherence comes mostly from the way your mind works.” This summarises the book perfectly. Following on from the work of Francis Crick and Wilder Penfold who searched for the mind in the brain and overlooked idea that the mind is a narrative translation, Robert Taylor dismisses the romance of “pretender self as master-in-chief”. The book addresses the enormous subject of how blame and punishment are applied based solely on the illusion of human choice and self-determination. On this basis, remove blame and criminal justice systems become unjust. A deep and somewhat philosophical argument, it warrants a second reading for full understanding and definitely debate with others. ~ Louise Ward (Reviewer), NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. It basically says we do not have free will. Well that’s nonsense you say - as did I - but then you read about the MRI scans and the experiments and Dr Taylor is convincing you that we are not who we think we are… It is the type of book that you put down and contemplate, think you’ve reassured yourself that life is not an “illusion” then you pick it up again and you’re back in a state of confusion. I also have to say, I loved it. I really enjoyed being challenged and trying to understand the arguments. The book is written for a lay audience and you certainly don’t need to be a scientist to read it. It’s easy to think that the brain is not in control of “us” but the author refers to:- “A condition known as “psychosocial dwarfism” sometimes occurs in younger children as a consequence of extended stress in the home. Shortened stature is the direct result of the resulting suppression of growth hormone production by the pituitary. The effect lasts as long as the child remains in the stressful situation.” If we can “control” our growth in this way, what else are we controlling? The point is that “we” are controlling nothing, it is all being played out for us. Dr Taylor shows the thesis very clearly and also fully explains what this means for the justice system and the decisions we make every day. The justice system in many countries is based on flawed reasoning. Is it for punishment? Revenge? Making examples of offenders to stop others committing crimes? All deterrents have been shown not to work. If the death penalty stopped people offending, then crime would cease. People commit crime because they choose to and are therefore responsible for their actions. Or are they? It is argued here that “as social beings, even though no one is ever to blame for anything, all persons must be held responsible with consequences absent punishment.” There is a lot to consider in this book, philosophical arguments, psychological experiments, political explanations and I need to really think about what it all means and try to find other books which substantiate or destroy the arguments of Dr Taylor. I think it will be a lifelong quest, and for that I am grateful. ~ Anne Maguire (Reviewer) , NetGalley
Dr. Robert Taylor does it again with his dazzling provocative insights. He's ventured this time into our criminal justice system. Taylor's research is exhaustive. Right on target! His prescription provides a cost-effective approach for genuine hope through responsibility and rehabilitation. ~ Dr. Roger L. Girion, Clinical Psychologist, Retired Police Captain, Personal communication
...Dr. Taylor has written two books, and depending on your beliefs and values, each is provocative. His claim that the concept of free will is a fallacy is used to justify arguments for changing the criminal justice system. I was informed, provoked, and grateful for the attention to our current inhumane and unjust policies. ~ Miriam Piven Cotler, PhD, Clinical Ethicist and Professor Emeritus , personal communication