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Professor Bruce Hood will be speaking at the FT Oxford Literary Festival about his latest book, "The Self Illusion"

10 March 2014

Professor Bruce Hood will be speaking at the FT Oxford Literary Festival this weekend about his latest book "The Self Illusion"

In his latest book, "The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity", Bruce Hood argues that the self is an illusion but one that we cannot live without. He says most of us believe that we exist as a self – an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body – the ‘me’ inside me – is compelling and inescapable. This is how we interact as a social animal and judge each other’s actions and deeds. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances. Rather than a single entity, the self is really a constellation of mechanisms and experiences that create the illusion of the internal you. We only emerge as a product of those around us as part of the different storylines we inhabit from the cot to the grave. It is an every changing character, created by the brain to provide a coherent interface between the multitude of internal processes and the external world demands that require different selves.

The nine-day FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival opens this Saturday with over 500 speakers expected from more than 20 countries.

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