Epistemic Challenges of Digital Twins & Virtual Brains : Perspectives from Fundamental Neuroethics

SCIO: Revista de Filosofía 21 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In this article, we present and analyse the concept of Digital Twin linked to distinct types of objects and examine the challenges involved in creating them from a fundamental neuroethics approach that emphasises conceptual analyses. We begin by providing a brief description of DTs and their initial development as models of artefacts and physical inanimate objects, identifying core challenges in building these tools and noting their intended benefits. Next, we describe attempts to build DTs of model living entities, such as hearts, highlighting the novel challenges raised by this shift from DTs of inanimate to DTs of living objects. Against that background, we give an account of contemporary research aiming to develop DTs of the human brain by building "virtual brains", e.g. the simulation engine The Virtual Brain as it is carried out in the European Human Brain Project. Since the brain is structurally and functionally the most complex organ in the human body, and our integrated knowledge of its functional architecture remains limited in spite of recent neuroscientific advances, the attempts to create virtual copies of the human brain are correspondingly challenging. We suggest that a clear scientific theoretical structure, conceptual clarity and transparency regarding the methods and goals of this technological development are necessary prerequisites in order to make the project of constructing virtual brains a theoretically promising and socially beneficial scientific, technological and philosophical enterprise.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,429

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Near-Term Ethical Challenges of Digital Twins.Brent Mittelstadt - 2021 - Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (6):405-406.
‘Limited but Useful’: Datafied Brains and Digital Twins.Stephen Rainey - 2022 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 29 (1):47-48.
A Case of Shared Consciousness.Tom Cochrane - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1019-1037.
From Brainbank to Database: The Informational Turn in the Study of the Brain.Anne Beaulieu - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (2):367-390.
From Brainbank to Database: The Informational Turn in the Study of the Brain.Anne Beaulieu - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (2):367-390.
Sex Differences and Neuroethics.Peggy DesAutels - 2010 - Philosophical Psychology 23 (1):95-111.
Neuroethics and the Extended Mind.Neil Levy - 2011 - In Judy Illes & Barbara J. Sahakian (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 285.


Added to PP

10 (#881,849)

6 months
5 (#143,864)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Anthropomorphism in AI.Arleen Salles, Kathinka Evers & Michele Farisco - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (2):88-95.
Neuroethics: A Conceptual Approach.Michele Farisco, Arleen Salles & Kathinka Evers - 2018 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 27 (4):717-727.
Towards a Definition of Life.Peter T. Macklem & Andrew Seely - 2010 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 53 (3):330-340.

View all 6 references / Add more references