Neuroethics Overview

Neuroethics Overview

Overview of Neuroethics

Neuroethics encompasses the myriad ways in which developments in basic and clinical neuroscience intersect with social and ethical issues. The field is so young that any attempt to define its scope and limits now will undoubtedly be proved wrong in the future, as neuroscience develops and its implications continue to be revealed. At present, however, we can discern two general categories of neuroethical issue: those emerging from what we can do and those emerging from what we know.

The “what we can do” problems

In the first category are the ethical problems raised by advances in functional neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, brain implants and brain-machine interfaces.

The “what we know” problems

In the second category are the ethical problems raised by our growing understanding of the neural bases of behavior, personality, consciousness, and states of spiritual transcendence.