Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 35–44 | Cite as

The Gold-Plated Leucotomy Standard and Deep Brain Stimulation

  • Grant Gillett


Walter Freeman, the self styled neurosurgeon, became famous (or infamous) for psychosurgery. The operation of frontal leucotomy swept through the world (with Freeman himself performing something like 18,000 cases) but it has tainted the whole idea of psychosurgery down to the present era. Modes of psychosurgery such as Deep Brain Stimulation and other highly selective neurosurgical procedures for neurological and psychiatric conditions are in ever-increasing use in current practice. The new, more exciting techniques are based in a widely held philosophical position on the relationship between the mind, brain and soul, which is the key to ethical debates in this area. Psychosurgery has always posed questions of responsibility, personality, character, identity, spirit, relationship, integrity, and human flourishing and they do not go away when we enter the brave new world of neuroethics and Deep Brain Stimulation.


Neuroethics Deep brain stimulation Psychosurgery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioethics centreUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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