“Marx wrote: ‘Men make their own history but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already.’ This needs extending, however; those ‘circumstances existing already’, by which both women’s and men’s actions are constrained, include both the human history and the current social conditions to which Marx refers, but also, as his contemporary Darwin insisted, the history of human biology itself. Both these giants of nineteenth-century social and biological theory (setting aside the anomaly of Marx’s commitment to stages of historical progress and some of Darwin’s progressivist hopes) were radical indeterminists. We share that indeterminacy; humans can make their own history, but they do so in circumstances which include both their embodied social existence and their socially embedded biological existence.”
This is a passage from "Genes, Cells and Brains" by Hilary & Steven Rose.
“The neurosciences have not been left behind; their claims to explain selfhood, love and consciousness as located in specific brain regions – a sort of internal phrenology – have been articulated in a string of popular books. Joseph Ledoux writes The Synaptic Self, Antonio Damasio of Descartes’ Error. Semir Zeki, professor of neuroaesthetics, claims that romantic love is the product of neural activity in the putamen and insula, while Francis Crick in The Astonishing Hypothesis argues that our very intentionality and agency as humans is an illusion and in ‘reality’ we are nothing but a bunch of neurons, our consciousness closeted in the claustrum and free will in the anterior cingulate sulcus. Jean-Pierre Changeux writes of Neuronal Man.”