Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 14 (2):1-15 (2017)

Nils-Frederic Wagner
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
In this article we critically review the neural mechanisms of moral cognition that have recently been studied via electroencephalography (EEG). Such studies promise to shed new light on traditional moral questions by helping us to understand how effective moral cognition is embodied in the brain. It has been argued that conflicting normative ethical theories require different cognitive features and can, accordingly, in a broadly conceived naturalistic attempt, be associated with different brain processes that are rooted in different brain networks and regions. This potentially morally relevant brain activity has been empirically investigated through EEG-based studies on moral cognition. From neuroscientific evidence gathered in these studies, a variety of normative conclusions have been drawn and bioethical applications have been suggested. We discuss methodological and theoretical merits and demerits of the attempt to use EEG techniques in a morally significant way, point to legal challenges and policy implications, indicate the potential to reveal biomarkers of psychopathological conditions, and consider issues that might inform future bioethical work.
Keywords Electroencephalography (EEG)  Brain Imaging  Moral cognition  Biomarkers
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DOI 10.1007/s11673-017-9780-2
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References found in this work BETA

Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century.Neil Levy - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
How Does Moral Judgment Work?Joshua Greene & Jonathan Haidt - 2002 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 6 (12):517-523.
The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.Richard Rudner - 1953 - Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1-6.

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Sex, Drugs, and a Few Other Things.Michael Ashby - 2017 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 14 (2):163-165.

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