Neurolaw and Neuroethics

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 27 (4):590-598 (2018)
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Abstract

Abstract:This short article proposes a conceptual structure for “neurolaw,” modeled loosely on the bipartite division of the sister field of neuroethics by Adina Roskies into the “ethics of neuroscience” and the “neuroscience of ethics.” As normative fields addressing the implications of scientific discoveries and expanding technological capacities affecting the brain, “neurolaw” and neuroethics have followed parallel paths. Similar foundational questions arise for both about the validity and utility of recognizing them as distinct subfields of law and ethics, respectively. In both, a useful distinction can be drawn between a self-reflexive inquiry (the neuroscience of ethics and law) and an inquiry into the development and use of brain science and technologies (the ethics and law of neuroscience). In both fields, these two forms of inquiry interact in interesting ways. In addition to a proposed conceptual structure for neurolaw, the article also addresses the neurolegal versions of the critiques made against neuroethics, including charges of reductionism, fact/value confusion, and biological essentialism.

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