If we had to think about combing our hair or making toast, we would never get out of the house in the morning. Habits enable us to function because neurons are "conversing" with networks involving thousands of other cells. But ethicists — and courts, and poets — will be warily watching what is learned about the neural basis of choices, habits, love and other important things.
Do we have bodies or are we bodies? What will become of the field of psychology as explorations of brain anatomy advances our understanding of how brain architecture influences, or even determines, behavior? "The devil made me do it" is no longer an exculpation. But what about "My brain circuitry made me do it"? Someday debates about free will may be resolved by understanding that we are responsible for our actions because we have "ownership" of three especially intricate pounds of matter.
George Will's email address is email@example.com.
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