really

Ideas

Is understanding human behavior as being driven, at least in part, by neurobiology, tantamount to “blaming the brain”? Does talk about genes, and brain structure and chemistry relieve us of personal responsibility for our actions, reinforcing a kind of hopeless fatalism, and allowing us such easy excuses for our bad behavior as – to borrow the headline from a New York Times opinion piece last weekend—“The Amygdala Made Me Do It”? It would certainly seem that way, judging from the frequency with which the idea that we live in a “diagnosis du jour” or “pill for every ill” culture is bandied about in conversations on What’s Wrong With Our Society.

(MORE:DSM5 Could Mean 40 Percent of College Students Are Alcoholic)

These questions pose themselves over and over again in so many of the stories that grab our attention these days. Is a nine-year-old who pushes a…

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