“All humans lack free will, claims Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky” – Video

“All humans lack free will, claims Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky” – Video

You have no free will at all | Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky

In the video titled “You have no free will at all” by Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky, you delve into the idea that our decisions and behaviors are shaped by a complex interplay of biology and environment rather than individual free will. Sapolsky, a distinguished professor at Stanford University with expertise in biology, neurology, and neurosurgery, argues that our frontal cortex, the part of our brain responsible for decision-making, is influenced by environmental determinism rather than genetic determinism. This leads Sapolsky to the conclusion that free will is actually an illusion rather than a reality.

Throughout the interview, Sapolsky discusses the implications of this concept for humanity, challenging traditional notions of responsibility, blame, praise, and punishment. He explores how different factors such as cultural upbringing, genetic predispositions, and environmental influences all play a role in shaping our behaviors and decisions. By understanding the distributed causality behind human actions, Sapolsky suggests that we can adopt a more empathetic and nuanced approach to understanding human behavior.

Ultimately, Sapolsky advocates for a shift in perspective, where society moves away from blame and punishment towards a more compassionate and understanding approach to behavior. While free will may not exist in the traditional sense, Sapolsky argues that by recognizing and appreciating the factors that shape our decisions, we can make more thoughtful and informed choices that benefit both individuals and society as a whole.

Watch the video by Big Think

Video Transcript

Author Video Description

How your biology and environment make your decisions for you, according to Dr. Robert Sapolsky.

Subscribe to Big Think on YouTube ► https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQECJukTDE2i6aCoMnS-Vg?sub_confirmation=1
Up next, Your reptilian brain, explained ► https://youtu.be/xNbNrdX2-zc?si=gVBc1WYZ4F2kEG8H

Robert Sapolsky, PhD is an author, researcher, and professor of biology, neurology, and neurosurgery at Stanford University. In this interview with Big Think’s Editor-in-Chief, Robert Chapman Smith, Sapolsky discusses the content of his most recent book, “Determined: The Science of Life Without Free Will.”

Being held as a child, growing up in a collectivist culture, or experiencing any sort of brain trauma – among hundreds of other things – can shape your internal biases and ultimately influence the decisions you make. This, explains Sapolsky, means that free will is not – and never has been – real. Even physiological factors like hunger can discreetly influence decision making, as discovered in a study that found judges were more likely to grant parole after they had eaten.

This insight is key for interpreting human behavior, helping not only scientists but those who aim to evolve education systems, mental health research, and even policy making.


Go Deeper with Big Think:

►Become a Big Think Member
Get exclusive access to full interviews, early access to new releases, Big Think merch and more. https://members.bigthink.com/?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=video&utm_campaign=youtube_description

►Get Big Think+ for Business
Guide, inspire and accelerate leaders at all levels of your company with the biggest minds in business. https://bigthink.com/plus/great-leaders-think-big/?utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=video&utm_campaign=youtube_description


About Robert Sapolsky:

Robert M. Sapolsky holds degrees from Harvard and Rockefeller Universities and is currently a Professor of Biology and Neurology at Stanford University and a Research Associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya. His books include New York Times bestseller, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst and Determined.

About Big Think

Big Think is the leading source of expert-driven, actionable, educational content — with thousands of videos, featuring experts ranging from Bill Clinton to Bill Nye, we help you get smarter, faster. Get actionable lessons from the world’s greatest thinkers & doers. Our experts are either disrupting or leading their respective fields.

Video “You have no free will at all | Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky” was uploaded on 05/10/2024 to Youtube Channel Big Think