WATCH: Does This Thing Have Selfhood?

What is the self? The answer to the question, often explained away by religious thinkers and philosophers as “spirit” or “soul,” has long been science’s “big blind spot,” says Terrence Deacon, neuroscientist and professor at UC Berkeley.  

In his new book Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The Emergence and Nature of Selves, decision theorist and Berkeley alumnus Jeremy Sherman breaks down Deacon’s complex research, which rejects the ghost-in-the-machine notion that some enigmatic, mystical embodiment of the self animates our material beings and strives to explain, scientifically, how means-to-ends behavior emerges from cause-and-effect phenomena. In this video teaser for the book, Sherman distills Deacon’s view of how mattering emerges from matter, why we work toward self-preservation, and essentially … what the heck the self is.

— Krissy Eliot
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After reading Richard Dawkins’ “Science in the soul”, this video motivated me to learn more about the subject. Before buying the book, I tried to reach the web page Sherman mentions at the end, but I could not find it. I tried many combinations of … It is just myself trying to understand my self. JT
Thank you Jeremy. I will look at the videos in the youtube channel and hope that your site is up and running soon. JT
Thank you, Jaime. Your question about the site alerted us to a major site crash. We’re working on it. It may be a week or so before its back up (looks like we have to rebuild from near scratch). Do check out Terry Deacon’s professorial site: And Youtube has many videos of Deacon’s presentations searchable under his name. Best, Jeremy