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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. 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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  2. 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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  3. Gulzaar Barn (forthcoming). Can Medical Interventions Serve as ‘Criminal Rehabilitation’? Neuroethics:1-12.
    ‘Moral bioenhancement’ refers to the use of pharmaceuticals and other direct brain interventions to enhance ‘moral’ traits such as ‘empathy,’ and alter any ‘morally problematic’ dispositions, such as ‘aggression.’ This is believed to result in improved moral responses. In a recent paper, Tom Douglas considers whether medical interventions of this sort could be “provided as part of the criminal justice system’s response to the commission of crime, and for the purposes of facilitating rehabilitation : 101–122, 2014).” He suggests that they (...)
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  4. Anthony I. Barnett & Craig L. Fry (2015). The Clinical Impact of the Brain Disease Model of Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Exploring the Attitudes of Community-Based AOD Clinicians in Australia. Neuroethics 8 (3):271-282.
    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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  5. 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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  6. Monica Bercea Olteanu (2015). Neuroethics and Responsibility in Conducting Neuromarketing Research. Neuroethics 8 (2):191-202.
    Over the last decade, academics and companies have shown an increased interest in brain studies and human cerebral functions related to consumer’s reactions to different stimuli. Therefore neuroethics emerged as a way to draw attention to ethical issues concerning different aspects of brain research. This review explores the environment of neuromarketing research in both business and academic areas from an ethical point of view. The paper focuses on the ethical issues involving subjects participating in neuroimaging studies, consumers that experience the (...)
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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. Tineke Broer, Martyn Pickersgill & Ian J. Deary (2016). The Movement of Research From the Laboratory to the Living Room: A Case Study of Public Engagement with Cognitive Science. Neuroethics 9 (2):159-171.
    Media reporting of science has consequences for public debates on the ethics of research. Accordingly, it is crucial to understand how the sciences of the brain and the mind are covered in the media, and how coverage is received and negotiated. The authors report here their sociological findings from a case study of media coverage and associated reader comments of an article from Annals of Neurology. The media attention attracted by the article was high for cognitive science; further, as associates/members (...)
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  10. Jan Christoph Bublitz (forthcoming). Saving the World Through Sacrificing Liberties? A Critique of Some Normative Arguments in Unfit for the Future. Neuroethics:1-12.
    The paper critically engages with some of the normative arguments in Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson’s book Unfit for the Future. In particular, it scrutinizes the authors’ argument in denial of a moral right to privacy as well as their political proposal to alter humankind’s moral psychology in order to avert climate change, terrorism and to redress global injustice.
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  11. Ld Cahan, Gb Hieshima, Rt Higashida & Vv Halbach (1988). Use of Intraoperative Angiography in Neurosurgery. Journal of Mind and Behavior 9 (3):289-297.
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  12. Leslie Cahan, Grant Hieshima, Randall Higashida & Van Halbach (1988). Use of Intraoperative Angiography in Neurosurgery. Journal of Mind and Behavior 9 (3).
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  13. Rocco Salvatore Calabrò, Antonino Naro, Rosaria De Luca, Margherita Russo, Lory Caccamo, Alfredo Manuli, Bernardo Alagna, Angelo Aliquò & Placido Bramanti (2016). End-Of-Life Decisions in Chronic Disorders of Consciousness: Sacrality and Dignity as Factors. Neuroethics 9 (1):85-102.
    The management of patients suffering from chronic disorders of consciousness inevitably raises important ethical questions about the end of life decisions. Some ethical positions claim respect of human life sacredness and the use of good medical practices require allowing DOC patients to live as long as possible, since no one can arbitrarily end either his/her or others’ life. On the other hand, some currents of thought claim respect of human life dignity, patients’ wishes, and the right of free choice entail (...)
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  14. B. J. Casey, Nim Tottenham, Conor Liston & Sarah Durston (2005). Magnetic Resonance Methods. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (3):104-110.
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  15. F. Xavier Castellanos & Erika Proal (2012). Large-Scale Brain Systems in ADHD: Beyond the Prefrontal–Striatal Model. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (1):17-26.
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  16. F. Xavier Castellanos, Edmund J. S. Sonuga-Barke, Michael P. Milham & Rosemary Tannock (2006). Characterizing Cognition in ADHD: Beyond Executive Dysfunction. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (3):117-123.
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  17. Anjan Chatterjee (2004). Neuroethics: Toward Broader Discussion. Hastings Center Report 34 (6):4.
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  18. Herve Chneiweiss (2011). Does Cognitive Enhancement Fit with the Physiology of Our Cognition? In Judy Illes & Barbara J. Sahakian (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics. Oxford University Press 295.
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  19. Amanda Clacy, Rachael Sharman & Geoff Lovell (2013). Return-to-Play Confusion: Considerations for Sport-Related Concussion. [REVIEW] Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 10 (1):127-128.
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  20. Thomas W. Clark (2007). Review of Walter Glannon, Bioethics and the Brain. [REVIEW] American Journal of Bioethics 7 (5):59 – 60.
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  21. Jens Clausen & Neil Levy (eds.) (2014). Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer.
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  22. Wendy Combest, Katherine Kasten & Juliet Popper Shaffer (1973). The Relationship Between Personality Impression Formation and Sex: An Application of Information Integration Theory. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 1 (1):2-4.
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  23. James Conant (2007). Mild Mono-Wittgensteinianism. In Alice Crary (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Moral Life: Essays in Honor of Cora Diamond. MIT
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  24. Rachel Cooper (2009). Is Psychiatric Research Scientific? In Matthew Broome & Lisa Bortolotti (eds.), Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience: Philosophical Perspectives. OUP Oxford
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  25. Rachel Cooper, Classifying Madness: A Philosophical Examination of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
    Classifying Madness (Springer, 2005) concerns philosophical problems with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, more commonly known as the D.S.M. The D.S.M. is published by the American Psychiatric Association and aims to list and describe all mental disorders. The first half of Classifying Madness asks whether the project of constructing a classification of mental disorders that reflects natural distinctions makes sense. Chapters examine the nature of mental illness, and also consider whether mental disorders fall into natural kinds. The (...)
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  26. To Cora (2007). Mild Mono-Wittgensteinianism. In Alice Crary (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Moral Life: Essays in Honor of Cora Diamond. MIT 31.
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  27. S. Cordell (2014). Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement. Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):330-332.
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  28. Michel Phillipe Corriveau (1992). The Essentials of Psychopharmacology: A Philosopher's View. Dissertation, Universite Laval (Canada)
    The purpose of this thesis is to provide a philosophical analysis of the field of psychopharmacology. ;First, a formal definition of the discipline is derived from opinions expressed by psychopharmacologists. Psychopharmacology is the scientific study of the effect of drugs, to the extent it can be known by science, on mind and behavior of the organism. Brief descriptions are also given of the subdisciplines of psychopharmacology, and different views on psychopharmacology are surveyed. ;Second, the aim of psychopharmacology is considered. Psychopharmacology (...)
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  29. Philippe Couilard, Keith Brownell & Walter Glannon (2009). Educating Future Neuroscience Clinicians in Neuroethics: A Report on One Program's Work in Progress. Journal of Ethics in Mental Health 4:1-4.
    If the new and rapidly expanding discipline of neuroethics is to have a signii cant impact on patient care, the neuroscience clinicians must become familiar with the discipline, and be competent and comfortable in applying its cognitive base and principles to clinical decisionmaking. Familiarity with and practical experience in the application of basic biomedical knowledge and principles to clinical decision- making in the neurosciences becomes the essential foundation on which to begin to integrate neuroethics into medical education. The place where (...)
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  30. Richard Cowan & Chris Frith (2010). Do Calendrical Savants Use Calculation to Answer Date Questions? A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. In Francesca Happé & Uta Frith (eds.), Autism and Talent. OUP/the Royal Society
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  31. Thomas Alfred Coward (1915). A Note on the Behaviour of a Blackbird - a Problem in Mental Development. From Mem. And Proc., Manch. Lit. And Phil. Society. [REVIEW]
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  32. Jared N. Craig (2016). Incarceration, Direct Brain Intervention, and the Right to Mental Integrity – a Reply to Thomas Douglas. Neuroethics 9 (2):107-118.
    In recent years, direct brain interventions have shown increased success in manipulating neurobiological processes often associated with moral reasoning and decision-making. As current DBIs are refined, and new technologies are developed, the state will have an interest in administering DBIs to criminal offenders for rehabilitative purposes. However, it is generally assumed that the state is not justified in directly intruding in an offender’s brain without valid consent. Thomas Douglas challenges this view. The state already forces criminal offenders to go to (...)
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  33. Angélique Oj Cramer, Kenneth S. Kendler & Denny Borsboom (2012). A Constructionist Account of Emotional Disorders. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3):146-147.
    Lindquist et al. present a strong case for a constructionist account of emotion. First, we elaborate on the ramifications that a constructionist account of emotions might have for psychiatric disorders with emotional disturbances as core elements. Second, we reflect on similarities between Lindquist et al.'s model and recent attempts at formulating psychiatric disorders as networks of causally related symptoms.
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  34. M. J. Crockett (2014). Moral Bioenhancement: A Neuroscientific Perspective. Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (6):370-371.
    Can advances in neuroscience be harnessed to enhance human moral capacities? And if so, should they? De Grazia explores these questions in ‘Moral Enhancement, Freedom, and What We Value in Moral Behaviour’.1 Here, I offer a neuroscientist's perspective on the state of the art of moral bioenhancement, and highlight some of the practical challenges facing the development of moral bioenhancement technologies.The science of moral bioenhancement is in its infancy. Laboratory studies of human morality usually employ highly simplified models aimed at (...)
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  35. Louise Cummings (2011). Pragmatic Disorders and Their Social Impact. Pragmatics and Society 2 (1):17-36.
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  36. R. D. Currier (1969). Syndromes of the Medulla Oblongata. In P. Vinken & G. Bruyn (eds.), Handbook of Clinical Neurology. North Holland 2--217.
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  37. Natalie L. Cuzen, Naomi A. Fineberg & Dan J. Stein (2014). Unconscious Habit Systems in Compulsive and Impulsive Disorders. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (2):141.
  38. R. D. (1957). Psychiatric Studies. [REVIEW] Review of Metaphysics 11 (2):348-348.
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  39. R. Darby (2010). Ethical Issues in the Use of Cognitive Enhancement. The Pharos of Alpha Omega Alpha-Honor Medical Society. Alpha Omega Alpha 73 (2):16.
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  40. Sean Day (2001). One's Own Brain as Trickster - Part II. Semiotics:116-125.
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  41. E. H. F. De Haan, D. C. Hay, H. D. Ellis, F. Jeeves, F. Newcombe & A. W. Young (1986). The Effect of Unilateral Brain Lesion on Matching Famous and Unknown Faces Given Either the Internal or the External Features: A Study on Patients with Unilateral Brain Lesions. In H. Ellis, M. Jeeves, F. Newcombe & Andrew W. Young (eds.), Aspects of Face Processing. Martinus Nijhoff
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  42. Peter J. de Jong, Merel Kindt & Anne Roefs (2006). Relevance of Research on Experimental Psychopathology to Substance Misuse. In Reinout W. Wiers & Alan W. Stacy (eds.), Handbook of Implicit Cognition and Addiction. Sage Publications Ltd
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  43. Eugene R. Delay & Walter Isaac (1980). The Effects of Illumination, D-Amphetamine, and Methylphenidate Upon Vigilance Performance of Squirrel Monkeys. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 15 (4):203-206.
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  44. John DeLuca (2009). Confabulation in Anterior Communicating Artery Syndrome. In William Hirstein (ed.), Confabulation: Views From Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Psychology and Philosophy. OUP Oxford 13.
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  45. Athena Demertzi, A Survey on Self-Assessed Well-Being in a Cohort of Chronic Locked-in Syndrome Patients: Happy Majority, Miserable.
    Marie-Aure´lie Bruno,1 Jan L Bernheim,2 Didier Ledoux,1 Fre´de´ric Pellas.
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  46. A. Derby (1989). Equating Death and Dollars on the Highway. Business and Society Review 71:47-48.
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  47. Marc-Alain Descamps (2003). Spirituality of Depression. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 22:86-88.
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  48. Vincent Di Norcia (2011). Ethics on the Brain. Philosophy Now 87:17-20.
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  49. David I. Pincus Dmh (2004). Global Neurodynamics and Deep Brain Stimulation. In C. Machado & D. E. Shewmon (eds.), Brain Death and Disorders of Consciousness. Plenum 239--253.
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  50. Aleksandar Dobrijević (2012). The Perils of Moral Enhancement. Filozofija I Društvo 23 (2):104-110.
    The idea of biotechnological enhancement of people for non-medical purposes is not unambiguous. A gap that may arise between the “cognitive” and so-called “moral” enhancement points precisely to this fact. This article shows that, contrary to the intentions of its supporters, the idea according to which moral enhancement has precedence over cognitive enhancement is essentially just a new form of undermining human freedom. [Projekat Ministarstva nauke Republike Srbije, br. 41004].
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