Twisted Thoughts and Elastic Molecules: Recent Developments in Neuroplasticity

During the twentieth century, many in the emerging fields of brain science operated under the assumption of absolute biological materialism—the idea that all reality in life can be reduced to our natural, physical dimension. For example, some neuroscientists sought to explain the deep mysteries of human consciousness not as any cosmic interconnection of spirit and matter but merely as a series of chemical reactions in the brain. Such assumptions in reductive materialism and pure determinism may sometimes be necessary within the realm of controlled scientific inquiry; but when adopted as a way of life, determinism has profound repercussions not only in the public realm of political strife but also in the quieter realm of personal struggle.

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