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Neuroethics

Edited by L. Syd M Johnson (Michigan Technological University)
About this topic
Summary Neuroethics is a nascent subdiscipline that has emerged out of bioethics and neuroscience to consider the ethical issued raised by developments in neuroscience, particularly recent developments in neuroetechnologies. The scope of neuroethics is broad and heterogeneous. In her seminal 2002 paper, philosopher and neuroscientist Adina Roskies bisected the field of neuroethics into two broad sectors: the ethics of neuroscience, and the neuroscience of ethics. The ethics of neuroscience overlaps significantly with traditional issues in biomedical ethics, including the ethics of neuroscientific research, and the ethical, legal, and social implications of new developments and discoveries in neuroscience. The “neuroscience of ethics”  engages with traditional ethical questions, and (controversially) overlaps with neurophilosophical, metaphysical inquiries concerning free will and personal identity as they inform and interact with important ethical and social issues. Specific areas of neuroethical interest include: cognitive enhancement, disorders of consciousness and neurological impairment, psychiatric disorders, brain imaging, free will/moral responsibility, and addiction, and the neuroscientific study of morality and decision-making.
Key works The broad scope of neuroethics defies a concise bibliography. Moreover, while there is overlap in some foci of neuroethics, there are also regions that stand apart. This article reflects neuroethics' origins as a subdiscipline of bioethics by examining ethical issues in clinical neuroscience (Glannon 2011). The moral significance of consciousness (Kahane & Savulescu 2009), and the role of neuroscience in illuminating the "problem of other minds" with respect to brain damage, and nonhuman animals (Farah 2008) is a subject with an extensive literature. Works on issues related to control, responsibility, freedom, and addiction include Hall 2003 and Glannon 2013Persson & Savulescu 2008 proposes both cognitive and moral enhancement. The neuroscience of ethics overlaps considerably with the work of experimental philosophers, e.g. Knobe 2003Greene unknown, and Appiah 2008.
Introductions For a general introductions to neuroethics, see Illes & Sahakian 2011 and Levy 2009 and Roskies 2002.
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  1. Halpern Abraham, Halpern John & Doherty Sean (2008). " Enhanced" Interrogation of Detainees: Do Psychologists and Psychiatrists Participate? Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 3.
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  2. R. Accordino, N. Kopple-Perry, N. Gligorov & S. Krieger (2014). The Medical Record as Legal Document: When Can the Patient Dictate the Content? An Ethics Case From the Department of Neurology. Clinical Ethics 9 (1):53-56.
  3. N. Agar (2014). A Question About Defining Moral Bioenhancement. Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (6):369-370.
    David DeGrazia1 offers, to my mind, a decisive response to the bioconservative suggestion that moral bioenhancement threatens human freedom or undermines its value. In this brief commentary, I take issue with DeGrazia's way of defining MB. A different concept of MB exposes a danger missed by his analysis.Two ways to define MBDeGrazia presents MB as a form of enhancement directed at moral capacities. There are, in the philosophical literature, two broad approaches to defining human enhancement. Simplifying somewhat, one account identifies (...)
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  4. Elisabeth Ahlsén (2008). Neurological Disorders of Embodied Feedback. In Ipke Wachsmuth, Manuela Lenzen & Günther Knoblich (eds.), Embodied Communication in Humans and Machines. Oup Oxford.
  5. Wael K. Al-Delaimy (2012). Ethical Concepts and Future Challenges of Neuroimaging: An Islamic Perspective. Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (3):509-518.
    Neuroscience is advancing at a rapid pace, with new technologies and approaches that are creating ethical challenges not easily addressed by current ethical frameworks and guidelines. One fascinating technology is neuroimaging, especially functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Although still in its infancy, fMRI is breaking new ground in neuroscience, potentially offering increased understanding of brain function. Different populations and faith traditions will likely have different reactions to these new technologies and the ethical challenges they bring with them. Muslims are approximately (...)
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  6. Roberto Andorno (2012). Do Our Moral Judgments Need to Be Guided by Principles? Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (04):457-465.
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  7. A. Antonini, R. Benti, R. Notaris, S. Tesei, A. Zecchinelli, G. Sacilotto, N. Meucci, M. Canesi, C. Mariani, G. Pezzoli & P. Gerundini (2003). 123i-Ioflupane/Spect Binding to Striatal Dopamine Transporter (Dat) Uptake in Patients with Parkinson's Disease, Multiple System Atrophy, and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Neurological Sciences 24 (3).
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  8. Rothenberger Aribert, Roessner Veit & Banaschewski Tobias (2006). Habit Formation in Tourette Syndrome with Associated Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior: At the Crossroads of Neurobiological Modelling. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (6).
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  9. M. Ángeles Arráez, Miguel Moreno, Francisco Lara, Pedro Francés & Javier Rodríguez Alcázar (2010). Bioethics and Human Enhancement: An Interview with Julian Savulescu. Dilemata 3:15-25.
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  10. Yubraj Aryal (2010). On the Death of Human and Its History. Journal of Philosophy: A Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry 5 (11):1-8.
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  11. T. Z. Aziz & J. F. Stein (2004). Brain Stimulation. In R. L. Gregory (ed.), The Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford University Press. 129--136.
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  12. Kathleen E. Bachynski & Daniel S. Goldberg (2014). Youth Sports & Public Health: Framing Risks of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in American Football and Ice Hockey. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 42 (3):323-333.
    The framing of the risks of experiencing mild traumatic brain injury in American football and ice hockey has an enormous impact in defining the scope of the problem and the remedies that are prioritized. According to the prevailing risk frame, an acceptable level of safety can be maintained in these contact sports through the application of technology, rule changes, and laws. An alternative frame acknowledging that these sports carry significant risks would produce very different ethical, political, and social debates.
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  13. Jing Bai & Renzong Qiu (2014). Some Issues in Neuroethics. In Akira Akabayashi (ed.), The Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. Oup Oxford. 65.
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  14. Jodie A. Baird (2005). Is There a “Social Brain”? In B. Malle & S. Hodges (eds.), Other Minds. Guilford Press. 75.
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  15. Giampiero Bambagioni (2012). On the Valorisation of Public Real Estate Enhancement: The Valuation of Programs and Projects (Feasibility Study). Techne: Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment 3.
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  16. Edmond Barbotin (1958). The Death of My Neighbor. Philosophy Today 2 (2):124.
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  17. Roger A. Barker (2006). Neural Transplants for Parkinson's Disease: What Are the Issues? Poiesis and Praxis 4 (2):129-143.
    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects about 1 in 800 people and for which we have symptomatic but not curative therapies. At the core of the disease is the loss of a specific population of dopaminergic neurons within the brain, and replacement of dopamine through drug therapies has provided clinically significant benefit for many patients. However this therapy only ever offers a temporary amelioration of symptoms and with time this symptomatic therapy becomes (...)
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  18. Anthony I. Barnett & Craig L. Fry (forthcoming). The Clinical Impact of the Brain Disease Model of Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Exploring the Attitudes of Community-Based AOD Clinicians in Australia. Neuroethics:1-12.
    Despite recent increasing support for the brain disease model of alcohol and drug addiction, the extent to which the model may clinically impact addiction treatment and client behaviour remains unclear. This qualitative study explored the views of community-based clinicians in Australia and examined: whether Australian community-based clinicians support the BDM of addiction; their attitudes on the impact the model may have on clinical treatment; and their views on how framing addiction as a brain disease may impact addicted clients’ behaviour. Six (...)
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  19. Simon Baron-Cohen, Helen Tager-Flusberg & Donald J. Cohen (2000). Understanding Other Minds Perspectives From Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  20. Eror Basar & et all (eds.) (2013). Application of Brain Oscillations in Neuropsychiatric Diseases. Supplements to Clinical Neurophysiology. Elsevier.
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  21. Victoria Bates (2012). 'Misery Loves Company': Sexual Trauma, Psychoanalysis and the Market for Misery. [REVIEW] Journal of Medical Humanities 33 (2):61-81.
    This article examines sexual ‘misery memoirs’, focusing on author/reader and genre/market relationships in the context of models of trauma and child sexual abuse. It shows that the success of sexual ‘misery memoirs’ is inextricably bound up with the popular dissemination of a feminist-psychoanalytic model of traumatic memory that has taken place since the 1970s. It also argues that, as the ‘truth’ of recovered and traumatic memories has been fundamental to its success, anxieties about false memory and hoax ‘misery memoirs’ have (...)
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  22. Christine M. Baugh, Emily Kroshus, Alexandra P. Bourlas & Kaitlyn I. Perry (2014). Requiring Athletes to Acknowledge Receipt of Concussion‐Related Information and Responsibility to Report Symptoms: A Study of the Prevalence, Variation, and Possible Improvements. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 42 (3):297-313.
    State concussion laws and sport-league policies are important tools for protecting public health, but also present implementation challenges. Both state laws and league policies often require athletes provide written acknowledgement of having received concussion-related information and/or of their responsibility to report concussion-related symptoms. This paper examines these requirements in two ways: an analysis of the variation in state laws and sport-league policies and a study of their effects in a cohort of collegiate football players.
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  23. Kurt Bayertz, Birgit Beck & Barbara Stroop (2012). C Literaturberichte-Künstliches Glück? Biotechnisches Enhancement als (vermeintliche) Abkürzung zum guten Leben. Philosophischer Literaturanzeiger 65 (4).
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  24. William W. Beatty & Nancy Monson (1989). Geographical Knowledge in Patients with Parkinson's Disease. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 27 (5):473-475.
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  25. Bruce M. Becker & Larry D. Reid (1977). Daily L-Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Pressing for Hypothalamic Stimulation. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 10 (4):325-327.
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  26. Emily Bell, Bruce Maxwell, Mary Pat McAndrews, Abbas Sadikot & Eric Racine (2010). Hope and Patients' Expectations in Deep Brain Stimulation: Healthcare Providers' Perspectives and Approaches. Journal of Clinical Ethics 21 (2):112.
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  27. Emily Bell & Eric Racine (2010). Deep Brain Stimulation, Ethics, and Society. Journal of Clinical Ethics 21 (2):101.
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  28. Martin Benjamin (forthcoming). Pragmatism and the Determination of Death. Pragmatic Bioethics:193--206.
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  29. Ron Berghmans, Ruud ter Meulen, Andrea Malizia & Rein Vos (2011). In Mood Enhancement. In Guy Kahane, Julian Savulescu & Ruud Ter Meulen (eds.), Enhancing Human Capacities.
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  30. Ferenc Biedermann (2010). Argumente für und wider das Cognitive Enhancement. Ethik in der Medizin 22 (4):317-329.
    Das Cognitive Enhancement, die Steigerung der geistigen Leistungsfähigkeit gesunder Menschen durch Psychopharmaka und andere Interventionen, ist in jüngster Zeit verstärkt in den Fokus sowohl der Ethik als auch der breiteren Öffentlichkeit geraten. In kontrafaktischer Abstrahierung vom gegenwärtig noch sehr bescheidenen Stand der Technik wird dabei unter anderem erörtert, was grundsätzlich für und was gegen den Einsatz von markant wirksamem Cognitive Enhancement sprechen würde. Der vorliegende Beitrag gibt einen Überblick über die einschlägige Diskussion. Zunächst wird der recht uneinheitlich verwendete Begriff des (...)
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  31. Ferenc Biedermann (2010). Arguments in Favour of and Against Cognitive Enhancement A Critical Survey. Ethik in der Medizin 22 (4):317-329.
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  32. Par A. Bjorkstrand (1973). Electrodermal Responses as Affected by Subject- Versus Experimenter-Controlled Noxious Stimulation. Journal of Experimental Psychology 97 (3):365.
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  33. E. Bleuler (2005). Dementia Praecox, or the Group of Schizophrenias. Translater by J. Zinkin (1950). New York: International Universities. Cited By: Bachman, P. & Cannon, TD. Cognitive and Neuroscience Aspects of Thought Disorders. [REVIEW] In K. Holyoak & B. Morrison (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. Cambridge Univ Pr. 493--519.
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  34. G. Bognar (2012). Human Enhancement, Edited by Julian Savulescu and Nick Bostrom. Mind 121 (481):225-229.
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  35. Dr Phil Joachim Boldt & Uta Bittner (2013). Gedächtnis-Enhancement. Wie erstrebenswert wäre ein grenzenloses Gedächtnis? Ethik in der Medizin 25 (4):315-328.
    Gedächtnis-Enhancement oder Memory-Enhancement ist ein Teilbereich der verschiedenen Ansätze zur pharmakologischen und technischen Verbesserung menschlicher Leistungsfähigkeit. Wie Erfahrungsberichte von Menschen mit von Natur aus gesteigertem Erinnerungsvermögen zeigen, ist eine Steigerung der Gedächtnisfähigkeit prinzipiell möglich. Allerdings verweisen diese Erfahrungen auch auf einige Komplikationen und Beschwernisse infolge dieser gesteigerten Leistungsfähigkeit. Es wird argumentiert, dass erstens diejenigen philosophischen Theorien, die die Funktion des Gedächtnisses v. a. in der Speicherung von Informationen lokalisieren, einige dieser Probleme nicht antizipieren und nur unzulänglich erklären können. Zweitens wird (...)
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  36. Joachim Boldt & Uta Bittner (2013). Gedächtnis-Enhancement. Wie erstrebenswert wäre ein grenzenloses Gedächtnis? Ethik in der Medizin 25 (4):315-328.
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  37. L. L. E. Bolt (2007). True to Oneself? Broad and Narrow Ideas on Authenticity in the Enhancement Debate. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28 (4):285-300.
    Our knowledge of the human brain and the influence of pharmacological substances on human mental functioning is expanding. This creates new possibilities to enhance personality and character traits. Psychopharmacological enhancers, as well as other enhancement technologies, raise moral questions concerning the boundary between clinical therapy and enhancement, risks and safety, coercion and justice. Other moral questions include the meaning and value of identity and authenticity, the role of happiness for a good life, or the perceived threats to humanity. Identity and (...)
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  38. Emily Borgelt, James A. Anderson & Judy Illes (2013). Managing Incidental Findings: Lessons From Neuroimaging. American Journal of Bioethics 13 (2):46 - 47.
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  39. B. Boshes (1969). Syndromes of the Diencephalon. In P. Vinken & G. Bruyn (eds.), Handbook of Clinical Neurology. North Holland. 2--432.
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  40. Rebecca Brashler (2004). The Trauma of Discharge Planning Following Brain Injury. Journal of Clinical Ethics 15 (4):314.
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  41. Peter R. Breggin (1990). Brain Damage, Dementia, and Persistent Cognitive Dysfunction Associated with Neuroleptic Drugs: Evidence, Etiology, Implications. Journal of Mind and Behavior 11 (3):4.
    Several million people are treated with neuroleptic medications in North America each year. A large percentage of these patients develop a chronic neurologic disorder-tardive dyskinesia-characterized by abnormal movements of the voluntary muscles. Most cases are permanent and there is no known treatment. Evidence has been accumulating that the neuroleptics also cause damage to the highest centers of the brain, producing chronic mental dysfunction, tardive dementia and tardive psychosis. These drug effects may be considered a mental equivalent of tardive dyskinesia. Relevant (...)
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  42. C. D. Brewer & Heather DeGrote (2013). Regulating Methylphenidate: Enhancing Cognition and Social Inequality. American Journal of Bioethics 13 (7):47-49.
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  43. Hillel Broder (2013). Lisa M. Hermsen, Manic Minds: Mania's Mad History and Its Neuro-Future. [REVIEW] Journal of Medical Humanities 34 (1):81-84.
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  44. Matthew R. Broome, Philosophical Reflections on the Nature of Psychosis.
    The papers included in the thesis, and summarized in this covering document, were selected, in discussion with my supervisor, Dr. Roessler, from papers I have published in the philosophy of psychiatry. In parallel to this philosophical work, I have worked clinically as a psychiatrist and academically as a research psychiatrist. My clinical work has largely been working with Early Intervention Services, both in South London and in Coventry and Warwickshire, and this work has been acting as a psychiatrist in clinical (...)
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  45. Eduardo Bruera (forthcoming). Severe Organic Brain Syndrome. Journal of Palliative Care.
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  46. Bengt Brülde (2007). Can Successful Mood Enhancement Make Us Less Happy? Philosophica 79:39-56.
    The main question is whether chemically induced mood enhancement is (if successful) likely to make us happier, or whether it may rather have detrimental effects on our long-term happiness. This question is divided into three: (i) What effects are mood-enhancing drugs likely to have on the long-term happiness of the person who takes these drugs? (ii) How would these drugs affect the happiness of the immediate environment of the people who take them, e.g. children or spouses? (iii) What effects would (...)
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  47. R. L. Buckner & D. C. Carroll (2007). Self-Projection and the Brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):49-57.
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  48. T. Buller (forthcoming). Editorial: What Can Neuroscience Contribute to Ethics? Journal of Medical Ethics.
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  49. Roberto Cabeza, Elisa Ciaramelli & Morris Moscovitch (2012). Cognitive Contributions of the Ventral Parietal Cortex: An Integrative Theoretical Account. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (6):338-352.
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  50. Laura Cabrera (2011). Memory Enhancement: The Issues We Should Not Forget About. Journal of Evolution and Technology 22 (1):97-109.
    The human brain is in great part what it is because of the functional and structural properties of the 100 billion interconnected neurons that form it. These make it the body’s most complex organ, and the one we most associate with concepts of selfhood and identity. The assumption held by many supporters of human enhancement, transhumanism, and technological posthumanity seems to be that the human brain can be continuously improved, as if it were another one of our machines. In this (...)
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