Publication Day

Today is the official publication day in the UK of my new book, “The Self Illusion.” 

I have some kind, generous comments from David Eagleman, Michael Shermer and Robin Ince on the cover and so far, the first reviews have been positive. However, one reviewer has expressed some existentialist angst reading it but it’s ok, you can’t easily get rid of the grand illusionist that my colleague Dan Wegner has called “The Great Selfini.”

If you decide to buy it, you can order it from amazon. The US and Canadian versions are being published next month. If you do get a chance to read it, let me know what you think. I am hoping it will stimulate minds and debate.  I am sure it will annoy/upset/depress/ liberate (delete as appropriate) a number of you but it should most definitely not bore the reader. And yes, I know the estimated number of atoms in the observable universe is considerably more than 1081. If you read it, you’ll understand why.


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11 responses to “Publication Day

  1. It’s only depressing if you think your brain is seperate from your body. I mean, it’s not as though something outside of us is controlling our minds. That would be like believing in fate, which is just as false as free will.

    Any way we can buy this from somewhere besides

    • brucehood

      Yes, I also think that rampant mind body dualism plays a major role in this. Yes. there are other suppliers, I am sure.

  2. Marco Provost

    Frankly, when I was around 15, I was reading on determinism (surely, I was not “grasping” all information – I don’t know if I can say this sentence in that way, because my first langage is french) and I thought : « Is every phenomenon caused by another phenomenon? How can something cannot be caused by something else? ». I didn’t know what to say about it until I read the concept of “free-will”.

    I never understand “free will” because it didn’t seem like it can explain anything real. If everything’s caused by something, then all of what I am is caused by things I do not necessarily know. Free-will is like “god”, if I don’t have enough evidences, then I just don’t belief in it.

    When I’m thinking about it, if I had read on “free-will” first, I would have understand it like it was something I was feeling and I would have think something like : «that’s right, I’m free, how can I not be free? I surely choose what I, and only I, want to choose (Relying only on my feeling of freedom) ».

    And after reading on free-will, I would have read on determinism and I would have judge it by relying only on my feeling of freedom that I experience before, and I would say: « No, that can’t be true, determinism don’t explain everything. Something is missing. »

    I was reading Tom Clark (if it is Thomas W. Clark, his book “encountering naturalism” was really wonderful!) on your page “the-self-illusion-is-revealed-today-a-dangerous-book” and he said to you :

    «it’s equally important not to forget that we’re just as real and causally effective as our history and our influences. We are *not* puppets, as Sam Harris suggests in his book on free will, rather we remain autonomous individuals. It’s vital that we not make this mistake, otherwise we risk being demoralized. […] there’s a meaningful and achievable standard of autonomy that’s compatible with determinism, namely being able to act in accordance with our own interests, plans and desires… »

    I am currently reading the link he gives you, and I really do not understand what compatibilists are bringing into this debate. I really don’t understand what is supose to be compatible with determinism.

    I hope your book (and the links of Tom Clark; I’ll read more about them later) will help me assemble my beliefs about this issue. I look forward to it!

    Oh, and I’m currently reading your book Supersense. It’s Supergreat! It helped me think about my course in anthropology of religion (at the University of Montreal).

    Thank you so much for your contribution to the world!

  3. Jo

    Hi Bruce, have logged straight on to Amazon to purchase, congratulations I’m sure that I will be one of many to enjoy this and leave a positive review!

  4. Bruce

    Just finished reading your book this morning, I did get a heads up, getting a copy at the Edinburgh Science Festival event in Edinburgh. I design training (Train in the Grain of the Brain) and particularly like your references to – we remember more ( a list of words) when we have a choice (page 98). And that we pay more attention to things that are ours (page 129) This should be easily translated to learning activities i.e. which page from the manual do you want to learn and then teach it to others and simple things like putting the delegate name on the learning materials.

    I also like the phrase ‘stories that we retrieve from the compost heap of our long term memory’ (page 161)

    Thanks for all the work you did in referencing the text. Cheers from Scotland

    Sheila Fraser

    • brucehood

      Thank I really appreciate you taking the time and I had a great time at the Edinburgh Science Festival. I’d love it if you had the time to post your comment on Amazon.

  5. I’m enjoying your book immensely. I am thrilled that someone with such a solid scientific background as yourself would publish a book which questions the basics of classroom psychological theory. I can imagine how tough it was to write. But well done, “you” have done a great job!

  6. Alistair

    I really enjoyed your book, you have however made a mistake with the Monty Hall problem. The general principle is fine you should switch but the odds that you win if you do are 2/3 not 1/2, if the probabilities of winning where stick 1/3 and switch 1/2 what happens the other 1/6 of the time? If you where wrong to begin with you should switch so that is 2/3. When I mentioned this to my mother she remember my late father talking about this problem and also had the 1/3 and 1/2 solution he was also a Psychologist, so does this mistake originate from the same source?

    • brucehood

      Darn, I can’t believe I did that. You are absolutely right! Even when I explicitly know the answer, my intuitive system kicks in and trips me up. Hopefully this generates a wave of outrage similar to the original report by Marilyn vos Savant!
      Oh well, if it goes to a second edition, I will correct it.

  7. Anonymous

    I just finished reading this book today and I absolutely loved it! Great to find a scientific book that wasn’t a total ball ache to read yet extremely interesting! Have been passing on all the interesting facts I have learnt and recommended to all my friends!

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