Neuroethics: Ethics and the sciences of the mind

Philosophy Compass 4 (1):69-81 (2009)
Abstract
Neuroethics is a rapidly growing subfield, straddling applied ethics, moral psychology and philosophy of mind. It has clear affinities to bioethics, inasmuch as both are responses to new developments in science and technology, but its scope is far broader and more ambitious because neuroethics is as much concerned with how the sciences of the mind illuminate traditional philosophical questions as it is with questions concerning the permissibility of using technologies stemming from these sciences. In this article, I sketch the two branches of neuroethics, the applied and the philosophical, and illustrate how they interact. I also consider representative themes from each: the ethics of dampening memory and of cognitive enhancement, on the one hand, and the attack upon the reliability of deontological intuitions and upon free will, on the other.
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