SUSAN GREENFIELD

Scientist • Writer • Broadcaster

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Greek Tragedy and Neuroscience

Posted by on 16 November 2017, 09:06 pm

In this article she shows how in turn the three great Greek tragedians raised questions and issues that have parallels in neuroscience. Aeschylus emphasised fate at the expense of the individual, arguably corresponding to genetic determinism; Sophocles paid more attention to the individual, albeit with no free will, - a subject tackled in the pioneering experiments of the 20th neuroscientist Benjamin Libet.

Finally, Euripides highlighted the inner conflicts within each one of us, the 'wine' force of abandonment versus the 'bread' force of reason, which correspond, respectively under-functioning and full functioning of a key part of the brain (prefrontal cortex).


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