Sean Illing talks with neuroscientist Gregory Berns, author of The Self Delusion. Berns claims that the idea of a unified, persistent self is a kind of illusion, and that we are better understood as multiple selves at different moments in time, tied together by a story — which is what we call our identity. Sean and Greg also talk about whether the brain is a computer, how perception works, the limits of thinking too much about thinking, and what psychedelics can do to disrupt and change the stories we tell about ourselves.
Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area
Guest: Gregory Berns (@gberns), author; professor of psychology and distinguished professor of neuroeconomics, Emory University
The Self Delusion: The New Neuroscience of How We Invent — and Reinvent — Our Identities by Gregory Berns (Basic; 2022)
- More on the "Ship of Theseus" by Noah Levin
"Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" by David Chalmers (Journal of Consciousness Studies 2; 1995)
- More on "The Hard Problem of Consciousness" by Josh Weisberg (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
"The extraordinary therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs, explained" by Sean Illing (Vox; Mar. 8, 2019)
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This episode was made by:
Producer: Erikk Geannikis
Editor: Amy Drozdowska
Engineer: Patrick Boyd
Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall
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