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Beyond the responsibility gap. Discussion note on responsibility and liability in the use of brain-computer interfaces

  • Gerd GrüblerAffiliated withPhilosophisches Seminar, Forschungsstelle Neuroethik/Neurophilosophie, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz Email author 

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The article shows where the argument of responsibility-gap regarding brain-computer interfaces acquires its plausibility from, and suggests why the argument is not plausible. As a way of an explanation, a distinction between the descriptive third-person perspective and the interpretative first-person perspective is introduced. Several examples and metaphors are used to show that ascription of agency and responsibility does not, even in simple cases, require that people be in causal control of every individual detail involved in an event. Taking up the current debate on liability in BCI use, the article provides and discusses some rules that should be followed when potentially harmful BCI-based devices are brought from the laboratory into everyday life.


Brain-computer interface Responsibility gap Shared control Liability Neuroethics