Archive for category enhancement

It’s Complicated: Molly Crocket and Patricia Churchland Discuss the Future of the Neuroscience of Morality

This blog post written by Julia Haas was originally featured on The Neuroethics Blog.

Last month, as a recipient of the Emory Neuroethics Program Neuroethics Travel Award, I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The conference brought together leading neuroethics scholars from around the world and focused on the themes of moral enhancement, disorders of consciousness, and the role of neuroscience in the courtroom. (The conference was structured around three star-studded panels. For a full program, please visit here. For full videos of the panels, please visit here.) There were also five oral presentations and a poster session. As part of the event, I exhibited a poster entitled “Revising Weakness of Will: A Reply to Neil Levy,” where I challenged Levy’s use of the theory of ego depletion as an explanation of weakness of will and provided an alternate, neurocomputational account.

Presenting my poster at INS.

Photo credit: Karen Rommelfanger

As a philosopher interested in the intersection of the computational neurosciences and morality, “The Science and Ethics of Moral Enhancement” session was a particularly enlightening one for me. It brought together three leading women neuroethics scholars, Barbara Sahakian (as Moderator), Molly Crockett, and Patricia Churchland, as well as neuroethicist Julian Savulescu of the Oxford University Center for Neuroethics. It was a remarkable conversation. Throughout their discussions and even in the question period that followed, I was struck by how clearheaded the panelists were about the challenges facing the field. At the same time, and despite their very different perspectives, they evidently shared a real optimism about the future of this area of research. As the session moderator, neuroscientist and neuroethicist Barbara Sahakian of Cambridge University set the tone by explaining that the panelists would tackle, “the science of what’s possible now,” but also look at “what we may be able to do in the future.”

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Are emotional states post psychiatic deep brain stimulation authentic?

Carolyn is a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research focuses on ethics, with special emphasis on Bioethics and Neuroethics, as well as social and political philosophy. Her most recent work is on the authenticity of emotions, and considers authentic emotions as a normative ideal in the debate over neuromodification. Other work explores human rights, moral psychology, and democratic community. Carolyn received her BA in Philosophy at Georgetown University, and earned honors for her undergraduate thesis on personal identity. Below is a synopsis of the paper she presented recently at Brain Matters 3 in Cleveland, Ohio on the authenticity of emotions and deep brain stimulation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Human enhancement and brain stimulation

Laura Cabrera, Ph.D. is a visiting postdoctoral research fellow at the Core where she is working on a project that explores the attitudes of the general public regarding cognitive enhancement. Laura Cabrera is a postdoctoral researcher in bioethics and emergent technologies in the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at Basel University. Laura received a BSc in Electrical and Communication Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) in Mexico City, and a MA in Applied Ethics from Linköping University in Sweden. She received a PhD in Applied Ethics from Charles Sturt University in Australia. Laura’s current research focuses on neuroethics and emergent technologies, especially those connected to uses of neurotechnologies and individual/societal implications and perspectives.

Human enhancement has become an umbrella term to refer to a wide range of existing, emerging and visionary technological interventions that blur the boundaries between interventions aimed at therapy and those beyond therapy and species typical features, as well as interventions targeting vulnerabilities, prevention, restoration, rehabilitation, and protection from harms. Read the rest of this entry »

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