Extending our view on using BCIs for locked-in syndrome

Neuroethics 1 (2):119-132 (2008)
Locked-in syndrome (LIS) is a severe neurological condition that typically leaves a patient unable to move, talk and, in many cases, initiate communication. Brain Computer Interfaces (or BCIs) promise to enable individuals with conditions like LIS to re-engage with their physical and social worlds. In this paper we will use extended mind theory to offer a way of seeing the potential of BCIs when attached to, or implanted in, individuals with LIS. In particular, we will contend that functionally integrated BCIs extend the minds of individuals with LIS beyond their bodies, allowing them greater autonomy than they can typically hope for in living with their condition. This raises important philosophical questions about the implications of BCI technology, particularly the potential to change selves, and ethical questions about whether society has a responsibility to aid these individuals in re-engaging with their physical and social worlds. It also raises some important questions about when these interventions should be offered to individuals with LIS and respecting the rights of these individuals to refuse intervention. By aiding willing individuals in re-engaging with their physical and social worlds, BCIs open up avenues of opportunity taken for granted by able individuals and introduce new ways in which these individuals can be harmed. These latter considerations serve to highlight our emergent social responsibilities to those individuals who will be suitable for, and receive, BCIs.
Keywords Brain–computer interfaces  Locked-in syndrome  Extended mind theory  Neuroethics  Autonomy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12152-008-9014-8
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,470
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Janet Levin (2008). Functionalism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

43 ( #112,830 of 1,925,542 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #418,152 of 1,925,542 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.