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Neuroethics

Information : Online Articles

neuroethicsNeuroethics is a field of inquiry that is very broad in scope and is closely related to both cognitive neuroscience and bioethics, though it is now formally recognised as a discipline in its own right. Neuroethics can be roughly divided into two streams. One stream concerns the more direct or proximal implications of cognitive neuroscience, which can be referred to as the “ethics of neuroscience”. It deals with the ethical implications of neuroscientific knowledge and technology such as enhancing neurological function through novel neuro-pharmacological, neuro-stimulation and neurogenetic engineering techniques. The implications of brain imaging technology, which is now commonly used in both research and medical practice, raises issues concerning mental privacy, diagnostics and predicting behaviour. Furthermore, knowledge gained through neuroscience, along with brain imaging technology, may one day allow us to probe the human mind to observe even ones thoughts and predilections. The second stream of neuroethics, can be referred to as the “neuroscience of ethics”. This stream of neuroethics lies at the border between philosophy, metaethics and normative ethics. One of the central issues concerns moral agency. How we impute moral responsibility given that cognitive neuroscience may shed new light on the way humans make their decisions as well as the nature of our underlying motivations to act in certain ways. How can we trust our moral beliefs if it turns out that one’s belief was not the product of rational contemplation but a post hoc rationalisation of an emotive judgement, an attitude of disapprobation or a pre-reflective moral intuition that is distinct, impenetrable and encapsulated from rational contemplation.