Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (3):457-474 (2012)

Advances in the neurosciences have many implications for a collective understanding of what it means to be human, in particular, notions of the self, the concept of volition or agency, questions of individual responsibility, and the phenomenology of consciousness. As the ability to peer directly into the brain is scientifically honed, and conscious states can be correlated with patterns of neural processing, an easy—but premature—leap is to postulate a one-way, brain-based determinism. That leap is problematic, however, and emerging findings in neuroscience can even be seen as compatible with some of the basic tenets of existentialism. Given the compelling authority of modern “science,” it is especially important to question how the findings of neuroscience are framed, and how the articulation of research results challenge or change individuals’ perceptions of themselves. Context plays an essential role in the emergence of human identity and in the sculpting of the human brain; for example, even a lack of stimuli (“nothing”) can lead to substantial consequences for brain, behavior, and experience. Conversely, advances in understanding the brain might contribute to more precise definitions of what it means to be human, including definitions of appropriate social and moral behavior. Put another way, the issue is not simply the ethics involved in framing neurotechnology, but also the incorporation of neuroscientific findings into a richer understanding of human ethical (and existential) functioning
Keywords Neuroethics  Neuroimaging  fMRI  Critical neuroscience  Neurohumanities  Neuroskepticism  Existential-phenomenological approach to consciousness  Neural correlates of consciousness  Humanities and neuroscience  Humanities and technology  Perspectivism  Neuroscience and volition  Process approaches to consciousness  Neuroscience and human agency  Neuroscience and the “two cultures”  Social neuroscience  Philosophy of mind  Internalism  Authenticity
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-012-9388-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Personal Knowledge.Michael Polanyi - 1958 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.

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