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Neuroscience and Free Will

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 20 January 2014

Tom Sutcliffe talks to the neuroscientist Dick Swaab who argues that everything we do and don't do is determined by our brain. He explains why 'we are our brains'. The philosopher Julian Baggini doesn't dispute the pre-eminence of brain processes but believes it doesn't tell the whole story. As a writer Helen Dunmore must get into the minds of her characters - the latest a war-damaged soldier from the trenches. Natalie Abrahami only has the heads of her characters to play with as she directs Samuel Beckett's Happy Days about the amazing ability of a woman to survive by denying her ever-diminishing world.
Producer: Katy Hickman.

  • Dick Swaab

    Dick Swaab is a researcher in neuroscience and a professor of neurobiology at the University of Amsterdam.


    We Are Our Brains: From the Womb to Alzheimer’s is published by Allen Lane.

  • Julian Baggini

    Julian Baggini is the editor and co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine.


    The Virtues of the Table: How to Eat and Think is published by Granta Books.


    Julian Baggini

  • Natalie Abrahami

    Natalie Abrahami is a director and the current Genesis Fellow at the Young Vic.


    Happy Days by Samuel Beckett is on at the Young Vic from 23 January to 8 March.


    Young Vic

  • Helen Dunmore

    Helen Dunmore is an author, poet, children’s novelist and short-story writer.


    The Lie is published by Hutchinson.


    Helen Dunmore


Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest
Dick Swaab
Interviewed Guest
Julian Baggini
Interviewed Guest
Helen Dunmore
Interviewed Guest
Natalie Abrahami
Katy Hickman


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