a nonpartisan research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest since 1969




the world of bioethics se...
Neuroethics: Two Traditions at
    the Intersection of Mind,
   Meaning and Morality…from
      the Cave to the Crest
    ...
Definitions
   Neuro: about or in reference to the structure or
    function of nervous systems

   Ethics: systematic st...
Neuroscience…
   Has made huge and rapid leaps by
    using technology to study and
    understand neural structure and
 ...
Neuroethics
Conjoins the major tasks of philosophy:
1. Epistemic

2. Anthropologic

3. Ethical

… to (a) foster neuroscien...
From Philosophy:
           The Hard Questions

   Addressing the “hard questions” of
    neuroscience and neurophilosoph...
Engaging Science:
The Hardware- Program Questions

1)   If something has the “hardware”,
     does that mean it can run th...
The “Ethical Turn”:
     What is the “Good”?
How do these constructs impact
    scope and nature of research
1. Technologi...
Ethico-legal Concerns: Because We
      Can Do Something, Should We?
   Research
     • How “far” should we study what it...
Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in
                 Intersection

The “million dollar question”…
   “Who gets the goodies...
The Pros and Cons
   Pro:
    • A natural need to “know” and intervene inherent to
      “human flourishing”
     “Inquir...
“Cognitive Crest”

   Propelled by progress

   Position determines vision

   Views of potential futures

   Responsi...
“Surfing the Cognitive Crest”
Obligates acknowledgement of
   Trajectory
   Potential Impact
   Manifestations
   Limit...
How?
1. Recognize
  • (a) the ‘status quo is progress’,
  • (b) boundaries and frontiers
  • “…the new is always unpredict...
Establish Groundwork
              Questions
1.   What are the risks (known and possible)?
2.   Are there unique ethical, ...
Risk- and Ethical Management Paradigm
 4Ps:
  Precautionary

     • acknowledging status quo involves progress
    Perso...
What NOT to do…




the world of bioethics seminar
“Where might we be going?”




    the world of bioethics seminar
“Where might we find ourselves?”




      the world of bioethics seminar
The Work of Neuroethics…
   Reflection, insight and moral pause
    must be the stepping stone for all
    future acts of...
Acknowledgements
   Funded in part by the Nour
    Foundation, Office of Naval
    Research, CTNS-STARS, and the
    Poto...
Selected Readings
   Giordano J. Pain: Mind, Meaning and Medicine. PPM
    Communications, Glen Falls, PA 2009.
   Giord...
a nonpartisan research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest since 1969




thehastingscenter.org
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Neuroethics: Two traditions at the intersection of mind, meaning, and morality

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The Hastings Center
The World of Bioethics Seminar
Friday, December 4, 2009

Neuroethics: Two traditions at the intersection of mind, meaning and morality

Presented by: James Giordano

Since 2002, neuroethics has come to include two sorts of research: the first relating to the neurological basis of moral knowledge, sense and actions, and the second referring to the ethics of neuroscientific research and applications. This lecture will address both of these traditions and their relation to one another. It will ground neuroethics in the hard questions of neuroscience, and the problems that arise when we must rely on partial or contingent knowledge.

Published in: Technology

Neuroethics: Two traditions at the intersection of mind, meaning, and morality

  1. 1. a nonpartisan research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest since 1969 the world of bioethics seminar Neuroethics: Two Traditions at the Intersection of Mind, Meaning and Morality Presented by James Giordano December 4, 2009
  2. 2. Neuroethics: Two Traditions at the Intersection of Mind, Meaning and Morality…from the Cave to the Crest James Giordano, Ph.D. Center for Neurotechnology Studies Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, VA, USA And Wellcome Centre for Neuroethics and Uehiro Centre for Practical Philosophy University of Oxford, UK the world of bioethics seminar
  3. 3. Definitions  Neuro: about or in reference to the structure or function of nervous systems  Ethics: systematic study of the processes and basis of moral decision making  Neuroethics: 1) the study of the neural basis of morality (and ethics) 2) the ethical issues, questions and problems that arise in and from neuroscientific research and its applications. the world of bioethics seminar
  4. 4. Neuroscience…  Has made huge and rapid leaps by using technology to study and understand neural structure and function. •96-99% fiscal devotion to RDTE  Ethical, legal and social risk assessment tends to lag behind, and is reactive vs. proactive •1-4% fiscal devotion the world of bioethics seminar
  5. 5. Neuroethics Conjoins the major tasks of philosophy: 1. Epistemic 2. Anthropologic 3. Ethical … to (a) foster neuroscience qua science (b) bridge technical capability and moral consideration (c) bridge past to present to future the world of bioethics seminar
  6. 6. From Philosophy: The Hard Questions  Addressing the “hard questions” of neuroscience and neurophilosophy •What is consciousness? •What is the mind? •What is/ is there a “self”? the world of bioethics seminar
  7. 7. Engaging Science: The Hardware- Program Questions 1) If something has the “hardware”, does that mean it can run the “program” 2) How does the “program” affect the “hardware” 3) What makes “you” - YOU? • Genes? • Brain? • Mind? the world of bioethics seminar
  8. 8. The “Ethical Turn”: What is the “Good”? How do these constructs impact scope and nature of research 1. Technologic applications 2. Use of pharmacology 3. Transplantation 4. Genomics the world of bioethics seminar
  9. 9. Ethico-legal Concerns: Because We Can Do Something, Should We?  Research • How “far” should we study what it means to “be” a mind?  Technology • Should we link brains/minds to machines?  Drugs? • Treatment or enhancement?  Cyborgs? • Databanking mental function, silicon selves, moral status  Transplantation/stem cells • Moral status questions • How much is too much?  Genomics/xenochimeroplasty • What might we make? the world of bioethics seminar
  10. 10. Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Intersection The “million dollar question”… “Who gets the goodies?”  How do we address/resolve socio-cultural tension(s)?  Based upon what criteria?  What system of commutative or distributive justice?  What economic paradigm? the world of bioethics seminar
  11. 11. The Pros and Cons  Pro: • A natural need to “know” and intervene inherent to “human flourishing” “Inquiry and action is both right and good”  Con: • Partial knowledge in areas of profound impact effect broad and unforeseen consequences. “There are intellectual and moral limits upon inquiry” These need to be balanced… the world of bioethics seminar
  12. 12. “Cognitive Crest”  Propelled by progress  Position determines vision  Views of potential futures  Responsible for “surfing the wave” and determining “our directions” the world of bioethics seminar
  13. 13. “Surfing the Cognitive Crest” Obligates acknowledgement of  Trajectory  Potential Impact  Manifestations  Limitations Balancing Act (and “Skill”)…Tekne the world of bioethics seminar
  14. 14. How? 1. Recognize • (a) the ‘status quo is progress’, • (b) boundaries and frontiers • “…the new is always unpredictable” 2. Appreciate that conditions at the boundaries/frontiers may be ‘different’ • Wexelblatt’s Law: “Nature has a nasty sense of humor” 3. Weigh and balance optimism, pessimism and pragmatism the world of bioethics seminar
  15. 15. Establish Groundwork Questions 1. What are the risks (known and possible)? 2. Are there unique ethical, legal, social issues? 3. What risk-analyses and ethical assessments can be used? 4. How do (novel) situations militate which risk-analyses and ethical approaches should be used? Ethics = formal, systematized approach Situations = application = variable the world of bioethics seminar
  16. 16. Risk- and Ethical Management Paradigm 4Ps:  Precautionary • acknowledging status quo involves progress  Personnel • perceptive • pragmatic • persistent  Predictions • possibilities • paradoxes • problems: containable, retrievable, reversible and/or forgivable?  Policies the world of bioethics seminar
  17. 17. What NOT to do… the world of bioethics seminar
  18. 18. “Where might we be going?” the world of bioethics seminar
  19. 19. “Where might we find ourselves?” the world of bioethics seminar
  20. 20. The Work of Neuroethics…  Reflection, insight and moral pause must be the stepping stone for all future acts of inquiry, invention and intervention…  “Measure twice, cut once”, for all too often, there is no turning back. the world of bioethics seminar
  21. 21. Acknowledgements  Funded in part by the Nour Foundation, Office of Naval Research, CTNS-STARS, and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies  Thanks to Sherry Loveless for graphic artistry the world of bioethics seminar
  22. 22. Selected Readings  Giordano J. Pain: Mind, Meaning and Medicine. PPM Communications, Glen Falls, PA 2009.  Giordano J, Boswell MV (eds.) Pain Medicine: Philosophy, Ethics, and Policy. Linton Atlantic Books, Oxon, UK, 2009.  Giordano J, Gordijn B. (eds.) Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives in Neuroethics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2009.  Giordano J, Benedikter R. The future of humanity: Biotechnology and the trans- and post-human possibilities. J. Futures Studies (2009)  Giordano J. The neuroscience of pain, and the neuroethics of pain care. Neuroethics 2:1 (2009).  Giordano J, McBride DK. Anticipating biotechnological trends in pain care. Prac Pain Management 9(5): 74-78 (2009).  Giordano J, Engebretson J, Benedikter R. Pain and culture: Considerations for meaning and context. Cambridge Quarterly Rev.Healthcare Ethics, 77: 45-59 (2008). the world of bioethics seminar
  23. 23. a nonpartisan research institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest since 1969 thehastingscenter.org Find us on Facebook facebook.com/ Follow us on Twitter twitter.com/hastingscenter

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