About this topic
Summary Neuroethics is a nascent subdiscipline that has emerged out of bioethics and neuroscience to consider both the ethical and metaphysical implications of neuroscience, particularly recent developments in neuroetechnology. The scope of neuroethics is broad and heterogeneous, and the field is sometimes bifurcated into "the ethics of neuroscience" and "the neuroscience of ethics." 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.
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  1. Neurotechnology as a Public Good.K. N. Schiller A. M. Jeannotte, E. G. DeRenzo L. M. Reeves & D. K. McBride - 2010 - In James J. Giordano & Bert Gordijn (eds.), Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives in Neuroethics. Cambridge University Press.
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  2. Brain–Computer Interfaces and Disability: Extending Embodiment, Reducing Stigma?Sean Aas & David Wasserman - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2015-102807.
  3. Sensory Stimulation for Patients with Disorders of Consciousness: From Stimulation to Rehabilitation.Carlo Abbate, Pietro D. Trimarchi, Isabella Basile, Anna Mazzucchi & Guya Devalle - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  4. Emerging Ethical Issues Related to the Use of Brain-Computer Interfaces for Patients with Total Locked-in Syndrome.Michael N. Abbott & Steven L. Peck - forthcoming - Neuroethics:1-8.
    New brain-computer interface and neuroimaging techniques are making differentiation less ambiguous and more accurate between unresponsive wakefulness syndrome patients and patients with higher cognitive function and awareness. As research into these areas continues to progress, new ethical issues will face physicians of patients suffering from total locked-in syndrome, characterized by complete loss of voluntary muscle control, with retention of cognitive function and awareness detectable only with neuroimaging and brain-computer interfaces. Physicians, researchers, ethicists and hospital ethics committees should be aware of (...)
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  5. Pragmatism, Artificial Intelligence, and Posthuman Bioethics: Shusterman, Rorty, Foucault. [REVIEW]Jerold J. Abrams - 2004 - Human Studies 27 (3):241-258.
    Michel Foucault's early works criticize the development of modern democratic institutions as creating a surveillance society, which functions to control bodies by making them feel watched and monitored full time. His later works attempt to recover private space by exploring subversive techniques of the body and language. Following Foucault, pragmatists like Richard Shusterman and Richard Rorty have also developed very rich approaches to this project, extending it deeper into the literary and somatic dimensions of self-stylizing. Yet, for a debate centered (...)
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  6. Book Review. [REVIEW]David Adams - 2003 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 12 (1):131-134.
  7. Divided Minds and Successive Selves: Ethical Issues in Disorders of Identity and Personality, by Jennifer Radden. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. 296 Pp. $55.00. [REVIEW]David M. Adams - 2003 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 12 (1):131-134.
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  8. Once More with Feeling : Integrating Emotion in Teaching Business Ethics' Educational Implications From Cognitive Neuroscience and Social Psychology.Christopher P. Adkins - 2011 - In Ronald R. Sims & William I. Sauser (eds.), Experiences in Teaching Business Ethics. Information Age.
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  9. Functional Neuroimaging:Technical, Logical, and Social Perspectives.Geoffrey K. Aguirre - 2014 - Hastings Center Report 44 (s2):S8-S18.
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  10. Steady-State Somatosensory Evoked Potential for Brain-Computer Interface—Present and Future.Sangtae Ahn, Kiwoong Kim & Sung Chan Jun - 2016 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
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  11. More Creative Through Positive Mood? Not Everyone!S. Akbari Chermahini & Bernhard Hommel - 2012 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6.
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  12. Invasive and Non-Invasive Neuromodulation in Movement Disorders.Maertens De Noordhout Alain - 2014 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8.
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  13. Working Towards a New Psychiatry - Neuroscience, Technology and the DSM-5.Sabina Alam, Jigisha Patel & James Giordano - 2012 - Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 7 (1):1-.
    This Editorial introduces the thematic series on 'Toward a New Psychiatry: Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Classification, Diagnosis and Care' http://www.biomedcentral.com/series/newpsychiatry.
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  14. Moral Thinking, More and Less Quickly.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Education.
    Cushman, Young, & Greene (2010) urge the consolidation of moral psychology around a dual-system consensus. On this view, a slow, often-overstretched rational system tends to produce consequentialist intuitions and action-tendencies, while a fast, affective system produces virtuous (or vicious) intuitions and action-tendencies that perform well in their habituated ecological niche but sometimes disastrously outside of it. This perspective suggests a habit-corrected-by-reason picture of moral behavior. Recent research, however, has raised questions about the adequacy of dual-process theories of cognition and behavior, (...)
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  15. A Dash of Autism.Jami L. Anderson - 2013 - In Jami L. Anderson Simon Cushing (ed.), The Philosophy of Autism. Rowman & Littlefield.
    In this chapter, I describe my “post-diagnosis” experiences as the parent of an autistic child, those years in which I tried, but failed, to make sense of the overwhelming and often nonsensical information I received about autism. I argue that immediately after being given an autism diagnosis, parents are pressured into making what amounts to a life-long commitment to a therapy program that (they are told) will not only dramatically change their child, but their family’s financial situation and even their (...)
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  16. When the Boss Turns Pusher: A Proposal for Employee Protections in the Age of Cosmetic Neurology.J. M. Appel - 2008 - Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (8):616-618.
    Neurocognitive enhancement, or cosmetic neurology, offers the prospect of improving the learning, memory and attention skills of healthy individuals well beyond the normal human range. Much has been written about the ethics of such enhancement, but policy-makers in the USA, the UK and Europe have been reluctant to legislate in this rapidly developing field. However, the possibility of discrimination by employers and insurers against individuals who choose not to engage in such enhancement is a serious threat worthy of legislative intervention. (...)
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  17. Parsing Neurobiological Dysfunctions in Obesity: Nosologic and Ethical Consequences.Paul S. Appelbaum, Michael J. Devlin & Carl E. Fisher - 2010 - American Journal of Bioethics 10 (12):14-16.
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  18. More Experiments in Ethics.Kwame Anthony Appiah - 2010 - Neuroethics 3 (3):233-242.
    This paper responds to the four critiques of my book Experiments in Ethics published in this issue. The main theme I take up is how we should understand the relation between psychology and philosophy. Young and Saxe believe that “bottom line” evaluative judgments don’t depend on facts. I argue for a different view, according to which our evaluative and non-evaluative judgments must cohere in a way that makes it rational, sometimes, to abandon even what looks like a basic evaluative judgment (...)
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  19. Survey of Japanese Physicians' Attitudes Towards the Care of Adult Patients in Persistent Vegetative State.A. Asai, M. Maekawa, I. Akiguchi, T. Fukui, Y. Miura, N. Tanabe & S. Fukuhara - 1999 - Journal of Medical Ethics 25 (4):302-308.
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  20. Medical Aspects of the Minimally Conscious State in Children.Stephen Ashwal - 2003 - Brain and Development 25 (8):535-545.
  21. F. B. - unknown
    Along with advances in brain technologies comes the ability to enhance the cognitive and affective states of normal people. In this essay, I examine a relatively young technology used in cognitive neuroscience called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). I explain what it is, how it works and what some of its applications are. I suggest that a potential source of reservation one might have regarding brain-altering enhancement is the threat it seemingly poses to the subjective importance of mental states. I then (...)
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  22. Neuroetika i filozofija.Jovan Babic - 2014 - Filozofija I Društvo 25 (2):181-203.
    Neuro-ethics is probablу fastest growing part of applied ethics. The main thesis is that certain natural processes in brain and nerves produce certain moral, and immoral, behaviors. All these processes can be explained causally, and (if this is so) neuro-ethics might be the final result of neuroscience. There are some metaphysical and ethical pitfalls to be considered, however, like the (incorrect) conflation of causal explanation and rational justification in defining values, not only non-moral values but moral values as well. Certainly, (...)
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  23. Self-Awareness After Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury.Laura J. Bach & Anthony S. David - 2006 - Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 16 (4):397-414.
  24. Is There a “Social Brain”?Jodie A. Baird - 2005 - In B. Malle & S. Hodges (eds.), Other Minds. Guilford Press. pp. 75.
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  25. Perceived Access to Self-Relevant Information Mediates Judgments of Privacy Violations in Neuromonitoring and Other Monitoring Technologies.D. A. Baker, N. J. Schweitzer & Evan F. Risko - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (1):43-50.
    Advances in technology are bringing greater insight into the mind, raising a host of privacy concerns. However, the basic psychological mechanisms underlying the perception of privacy violations are poorly understood. Here, we explore the relation between the perception of privacy violations and access to information related to one’s “self.” In two studies using demographically diverse samples, we find that privacy violations resulting from various monitoring technologies are mediated by the extent to which the monitoring is thought to provide access to (...)
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  26. Ethical Aspects of Computational Neuroscience.Tyler D. Bancroft - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (2):415-418.
    Recent research in computational neuroscience has demonstrated that we now possess the ability to simulate neural systems in significant detail and on a large scale. Simulations on the scale of a human brain have recently been reported. The ability to simulate entire brains (or significant portions thereof) would be a revolutionary scientific advance, with substantial benefits for brain science. However, the prospect of whole-brain simulation comes with a set of new and unique ethical questions. In the present paper, we briefly (...)
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  27. Why Withdrawal of Life-Support for PVS Patients Is Not a Family Decision.Charles H. Baron - 1991 - Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 19 (1-2):73-75.
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  28. The Monoamine Oxidase A (MAOA) Genetic Predisposition to Impulsive Violence: Is It Relevant to Criminal Trials?Matthew L. Baum - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (2):287-306.
    In Italy, a judge reduced the sentence of a defendant by 1 year in response to evidence for a genetic predisposition to violence. The best characterized of these genetic differences, those in the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), were cited as especially relevant. Several months previously in the USA, MAOA data contributed to a jury reducing charges from 1st degree murder (a capital offence) to voluntary manslaughter. Is there a rational basis for this type of use of MAOA evidence in criminal (...)
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  29. “I Am Who I Am”: On the Perceived Threats to Personal Identity From Deep Brain Stimulation. [REVIEW]Françoise Baylis - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (3):513-526.
    This article explores the notion of the dislocated self following deep brain stimulation (DBS) and concludes that when personal identity is understood in dynamic, narrative, and relational terms, the claim that DBS is a threat to personal identity is deeply problematic. While DBS may result in profound changes in behaviour, mood and cognition (characteristics closely linked to personality), it is not helpful to characterize DBS as threatening to personal identity insofar as this claim is either false, misdirected or trivially true. (...)
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  30. Drilling Down in Neuroethics.Françoise Baylis & Jocelyn Downie - 2009 - Bioethics 23 (6):iii-iv.
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  31. Chimera Research and Stem Cell Therapies for Human Neurodegenerative Disorders.Françoise Baylis & Andrew Fenton - 2007 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16 (2):195-208.
    This work was supported, in part, by a Stem Cell Network grant to Françoise Baylis and Jason Scott Robert and a CIHR grant to Françoise Baylis. We sincerely thank Alan Fine, Rich Campbell, Cynthia Cohen, and Tim Krahn for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Thanks are also owed to Tim Krahn for his research assistance. An earlier version of this paper was presented to the Department of Bioethics and the Novel Tech Ethics research team. We thank (...)
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  32. Incidence and Prevalence of the Vegetative and Minimally Conscious States.J. Graham Beaumont & Pamela M. Kenealy - 2005 - Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 15 (3):184-189.
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  33. Assessing Level of Consciousness and Cognitive Changes From Vegetative State to Full Recovery.Tristan Bekinschtein, Cecilia Tiberti, Jorge Niklison, Mercedes Tamashiro, Melania Ron, Silvina Carpintiero, Mirta Villarreal, Cecilia Forcato, Ramon Leiguarda & Facundo Manes - 2005 - Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. Vol 15 (3-4):307-322.
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  34. Hope and Patients' Expectations in Deep Brain Stimulation: Healthcare Providers' Perspectives and Approaches.Emily Bell, Bruce Maxwell, Mary Pat McAndrews, Abbas Sadikot & Eric Racine - 2010 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 21 (2):112.
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  35. Views of Addiction Neuroscientists and Clinicians on the Clinical Impact of a 'Brain Disease Model of Addiction'.Stephanie Bell, Adrian Carter, Rebecca Mathews, Coral Gartner, Jayne Lucke & Wayne Hall - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (1):19-27.
    Addiction is increasingly described as a “chronic and relapsing brain disease”. The potential impact of the brain disease model on the treatment of addiction or addicted individuals’ treatment behaviour remains uncertain. We conducted a qualitative study to examine: (i) the extent to which leading Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians accept the brain disease view of addiction; and (ii) their views on the likely impacts of this view on addicted individuals’ beliefs and behaviour. Thirty-one Australian addiction neuroscientists and clinicians (10 females (...)
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  36. Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Brain-Implants Using Nano-Scale Materials and Techniques.Francois Berger, Sjef Gevers, Ludwig Siep & Klaus-Michael Weltring - 2008 - NanoEthics 2 (3):241-249.
    Nanotechnology is an important platform technology which will add new features like improved biocompatibility, smaller size, and more sophisticated electronics to neuro-implants improving their therapeutic potential. Especially in view of possible advantages for patients, research and development of nanotechnologically improved neuro implants is a moral obligation. However, the development of brain implants by itself touches many ethical, social and legal issues, which also apply in a specific way to devices enabled or improved by nanotechnology. For researchers developing nanotechnology such issues (...)
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  37. The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience.Selim Berker - 2009 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 37 (4):293-329.
    It has been claimed that the recent wave of neuroscientific research into the physiological underpinnings of our moral intuitions has normative implications. In particular, it has been claimed that this research discredits our deontological intuitions about cases, without discrediting our consequentialist intuitions about cases. In this paper I demur. I argue that such attempts to extract normative conclusions from neuroscientific research face a fundamental dilemma: either they focus on the emotional or evolved nature of the psychological processes underlying deontological intuitions, (...)
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  38. The Concept and Practice of Brain Death.James L. Bernat - 2006 - In Steven Laureys (ed.), Boundaries of Consciousness. Elsevier.
  39. Chronic Disorders of Consciousness.James L. Bernat - 2006 - Lancet 367 (9517):1181-1192.
  40. Severe Brain Injury and the Subjective Life.J. Andrew Billings, Larry R. Churchill & Richard Payne - 2010 - Hastings Center Report 40 (3):17-21.
  41. Potential for Bias in the Context of Neuroethics.Stephanie J. Bird - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (3):593-600.
    Neuroscience research, like all science, is vulnerable to the influence of extraneous values in the practice of research, whether in research design or the selection, analysis and interpretation of data. This is particularly problematic for research into the biological mechanisms that underlie behavior, and especially the neurobiological underpinnings of moral development and ethical reasoning, decision-making and behavior, and the other elements of what is often called the neuroscience of ethics. The problem arises because neuroscientists, like most everyone, bring to their (...)
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  42. Medically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration: The Vegetative State and Beyond.J. P. Bishop & E. L. Bedford - 2011 - Christian Bioethics 17 (2):97-104.
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  43. The Roman Catholic Church, Biopolitics, and the Vegetative State.J. P. Bishop & D. R. Morrison - 2011 - Christian Bioethics 17 (2):165-184.
    Compelled by recent public and politicized cases in which withdrawal of nutrition and hydration were at issue, this essay examines recent Church statements and argues that the distinction between private and public forms of human life is being lost. Effacing the distinction between the sphere of the home (oikos), where the maintenance of life (zoē) occurs, and the city (polis), where political and public life (bios) occurs, may have unforeseen and unwanted consequences. Through their well-intentioned efforts to preserve the sanctity (...)
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  44. The Cognitive Neuroscience of Psychopathy and Implications for Judgments of Responsibility.R. James R. Blair - 2008 - Neuroethics 1 (3):149-157.
    Psychopathy is a developmental disorder associated with specific forms of emotional dysfunction and an increased risk for both frustration-based reactive aggression and goal-directed instrumental antisocial behavior. While the full behavioral manifestation of the disorder is under considerable social influence, the basis of this disorder appears to be genetic. At the neural level, individuals with psychopathy show atypical responding within the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Moreover, the roles of the amygdala in stimulus-reinforcement learning and responding to emotional expressions and vmPFC (...)
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  45. An Examination of the Revisionist Challenge to the Catholic Tradition on Providing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration to Patients in a Persistent Vegetative State.J. Blandford - 2011 - Christian Bioethics 17 (2):153-164.
    The Catholic moral tradition has consistently offered the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary means as a framework for making end-of-life decisions. Recent papal allocutions, however, have raised the question of whether providing artificial nutrition to patients in a persistent vegetative state is to be considered ordinary and thus morally obligatory in all cases. I argue that this “revisionist” position is contrary to Catholic teaching and that enforcing such a position would endanger the ability of Catholic health care institutions to minister (...)
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  46. Policy Implications of the New Neuroscience.Robert H. Blank - 2007 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16 (2):169-180.
    The 1990s “Decade of the Brain” stimulated research on many fronts and resulted in considerable advancement in neuroscience. Unfortunately, we have been slow to develop a policy dialogue to anticipate and deal with vast implications. Simply put, our political and social institutions have not kept pace with these advances. At the base, policy issues center on how we interpret the implications of these developments, especially given the complexity of the subject and the speculative nature of much of the evidence to (...)
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  47. Review of Jean-Pierre Changeux and Paul Ricoeur. 2000.What Makes Us Think? A Neuroscientist and Philosopher Argue About Ethics, Human Nature, and the Brain. [REVIEW]Robert H. Blank - 2002 - American Journal of Bioethics 2 (4):69-70.
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  48. New Research, Old Problems: Methodological and Ethical Issues in fMRI Research Examining Sex/Gender Differences in Emotion Processing.Robyn Bluhm - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (2):319-330.
    Neuroscience research examining sex/gender differences aims to explain behavioral differences between men and women in terms of differences in their brains. Historically, this research has used ad hoc methods and has been conducted explicitly in order to show that prevailing gender roles were dictated by biology. I examine contemporary fMRI research on sex/gender differences in emotion processing and argue that it, too, both uses problematic methods and, in doing so, reinforces gender stereotypes.
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  49. Psychiatry's New Manual : Ethical and Conceptual Dimensions.J. S. Blumenthal-Barby - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (8):531-536.
    The introduction of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders in May 2013 is being hailed as the biggest event in psychiatry in the last 10 years. In this paper I examine three important issues that arise from the new manual: Expanding nosology: Psychiatry has again broadened its nosology to include human experiences not previously under its purview . Consequence-based ethical concerns about this expansion are addressed, along with conceptual concerns about a confusion of “construct validity” and “conceptual validity” (...)
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  50. Ethical Issues in Neurografting of Human Embryonic Cells.G. J. Boer - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (5):461-475.
    During the last decade neurotransplantation has developed into a technique with the possible potential to repair damaged or degenerating human brain. Effective neurotransplantation has so far been based on the use of fetal brain tissue derived from aborted embryos or fetuses. The ethical issues related to this new therapeutic approach therefore not only concern the possible adverse side effects for a neural graft-receiving patient, but also the relationship between the requirements for fetal tissue and the decision-making process for induced abortion. (...)
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