Neuroethics & neurophilosophy: Understanding the human brain
Neuroscientific research and the increasing use of neurotechnologies raise a number of philosophical, ethical, social, and regulatory issues. The need to examine them has resulted in the development of a new field of research: neuroethics. This field is an interface between the empirical brain sciences, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, ethics, and psychology, among other disciplines.
Three approaches to neuroethics
In our research, we focus primarily on fundamental neuroethics: basic research in neuroethics which shapes and informs our work on applied neuroethical issues. From a methodological perspective, we have introduced the distinction between:
- “Neurobioethics” (normative and prescriptive) that uses ethical theory and reasoning to address the practical issues arising from neuroscientific research and its clinical applications, and the issues raised by public communication of neuroscientific findings and their impact;
- “Empirical neuroethics” (mostly descriptive) uses empirical data to inform theoretical (e.g., what is moral reasoning) and practical issues (e.g., who is really a moral agent).
- “Conceptual neuroethics” undertakes conceptual clarification and uses conceptual analysis to address issues such as how neuroscientific knowledge is constructed and why or how empirical knowledge of the brain can be relevant to philosophical, social, and ethical concerns.
Our conceptual approach to fundamental neuroethics provides the theoretical framework to analyse practical issues, to examine ethical and neuroscientific concepts, and to address the impact of neuroscientific findings on society.
Ethics & Society - Kathinka Evers
Ethics & Society - Arleen Salles
Ethics & Society - Michele Farisco
The Human Brain Project SP12: Ethics and Society
The Human Brain Project
The Human Brain Project is one of the European Community flagship projects and involves over 100 groups. Kathinka Evers leads the philosophical research.
Evaluation of ethical issues have to be made in a systematic and informed manner, based on sound research and scholarship.
Developing advanced brain models to treat Alzheimers disease and taking responsibility for the ethical and philosophical issues raised by brain research.
Our research team
The CRB neuroethics and philosophy research team is an international, multi-disciplinary group. Our backgrounds allow us to approach the issues raised by brain research from theoretical, philosophical, social, bio-political, and clinical perspectives. We collaborate closely with neuroscientists and ICT researchers to understand the ethical and philosophical questions that neuroscience and ICT bring.
We are actively involved in the European Community (FET) Flagship Human Brain Project and the European Neurotwin project, where we undertake conceptual and normative reflection on the ethical, social, philosophical and regulatory issues that drive and arise from brain research.
- Kathinka Evers, Professor of Philosophy
- Michele Farisco, Associate Professor of Moral Philosophy & PostDoc
- Josepine Fernow, Communications
- Manuel Guerrero, PhD Sociology, PgDip Bioethics, Senior Researcher
- Georg Northoff, PhD, Senior Researcher
- Karl Sallin, MD, PhD Student
- Pär Segerdahl, Associate Professor of Philosophy
We also collavoratewith Universidad Central de Chile and Universidad de Chile, the Coma Research Group in Liege, the Canada Research Chair of Mind, Brain Imaging and Neuroethics and Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics in Ottawa, the Neuroethics Group of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics of the Georgetown University in Washington DC, the Bioethics Unit of the Italian National Institute of Health in Rome, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. We also collaborate with Weill Cornell Medical College and CASBI (Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury, Well Cornell and Rockefeller University).
Our research endeavours
Neuroethics & RRI
Answers to questions about transferring brain knowledge to medicine, law, philosophy, and health and social policy.
We expand AI ethics beyond the applied to answer the basic questions posed by the technology.
We develop new theory of consciousness with notable implication for how the 'unconscious' is conceived.
Digital twins/Virtual brains
Tackling the philosophical, societal and ethical issues associated with Virtual Twin Brains.
We develop a conceptual analysis of neuronal epigenesis in relation infant development and education, learning language, and the development of philosophical and religious systems and ethical norms.
Neuroscience & identity
Exploring the issues
We use philosophical tools to analyse the notion of human identity, its meaning and value, and its relation to the debate on human nature.
Developments in neuroscientific techniques and technologies are increasing the capability to assess and affect the structure and functions of the brain. We explore issues emerging from dual use of this research.
Pervasive refusal syndrome
Karl Sallin is studying pervasive refusal syndrome as a disorder of consciousness.
Farisco, Michele; Formisano, Rita; Gosseries, Olivia; Yoko, Kato; Koboyashi, Shigeki; Laureys, Steven; Lejeune, Nicolas; Martial, Charlotte; Matar, Amal; Morrisey, Ann-Marie; Schnakers, Caroline; Yakufujiang, Maidinamu; Yamaki, Tomohiro; Veeramuthu, Vigneswaran; Zandalasini, Matteo; Zasler, Nathan; Magliacano, Alfonso; Estraneo, Anna
International survey on the implementation of the European and American guidelines on disorders of consciousness
Ulnicane, Inga; Mahfoud, Tara; Salles, Arleen
Experimentation, learning and dialogue: an RRI-inspired approach to dual-use of concern
George, Ogoh; Akintoye, Simisola; Eke, Damian; Farisco, Michele; Fernow, Josepine; Grasenick, Karin; Guerrero, Manuel; Rosemann, Achim; Salles, Arleen; Ulnicane, Inga
Developing Capabilities for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)
The Ethical Spectrum of Consciousness
Farisco, Michele; Changeux, Jean-Pierre
About the compatibility between the perturbational complexity index and the global neuronal workspace theory of consciousness
Sociología de la Masacre.: La producción social de la violencia.
Rommelfanger, Karen S.; Ramos, Khara M.; Salles, Arleen
Conceptual conundrums for neuroscience
Sallin, Karl; Evers, Kathinka; Jarbin, Håkan; Joelsson, Lars; Petrovic, Predrag
Separation and not residency permit restores function in resignation syndrome: a retrospective cohort study
Das, Jayatri; Forlini, Cynthia; Porcello, Darrell M.; Rommelfanger, Karen S.; Salles, Arleen
Neuroscience is ready for neuroethics engagement
Farisco, Michele; Zecchino, Irene; Capasso, Giovambattista
The need for a multi-disciplinary reflection about frailty and cognitive impairment in chronic kidney disease
Schnakers, Caroline; Bauer, Chase; Formisano, Rita; Noé, Enrique; Llorens, Roberto; Lejeune, Nicolas; Farisco, Michele; Teixeira, Liliana; Morrissey, Ann-Marie; De Marco, Sabrina; Veeramuthu, Vigneswaran; Ilina, Kseniya; Edlow, Brian L.; Gosseries, Olivia; Zandalasini, Matteo; De Bellis, Francesco; Thibaut, Aurore; Estraneo, Anna
What names for covert awareness?: A systematic review
Josephsson, Staffan; Ohlen, Joakim; Mondaca, Margarita; Guerrero, Manuel; Luborsky, Mark; Lindstrom, Maria
Using Ricoeur's notions on narrative interpretation as a resource in supporting person-centredness in health and social care
Farisco, Michele; Salles, Arleen
American and European Guidelines on Disorders of Consciousness: Ethical Challenges of Implementation
Farisco, Michele; Pennartz, Cyriel; Annen, Jitka; Cecconi, Benedetta; Evers, Kathinka
Indicators and criteria of consciousness: ethical implications for the care of behaviourally unresponsive patients
Farisco, Michele; Evers, Kathinka; Salles, Arleen
On the Contribution of Neuroethics to the Ethics and Regulation of Artificial Intelligence