Neuroethics: what questions are raised by studies on the brain?

Research Published July 9 2015
Photo de John Harris

John Harris, professeur de bioéthique à l'Université de Manchester ©ICM

Open / close summary

Recent advances in the neurosciences, both in the understanding the human brain and the medical techniques developed to treat neurological and psychiatric pathologies, raise important ethical, social and legal questions.

Improvement of memory, deep brain stimulation, treatment of psychiatric diseases, transplantation of stem cells to treat neurodegenerative diseases… The implications of these interventions on well-identified brain circuits have led to the emergence of a new discipline, neuroethics. At the crossroads of the neurosciences and philosophy, technological innovation and societal issues, neuroethics investigates the social, legal and political implications of advances in the field of neuroscience.

During the Second Neuroethics Network meeting, organized at the ICM, John Harris, professor of bioethics and director of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, gave his definition of neuroethics and discussed the main questions raised in this field.