, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 411–414 | Cite as

Unpacking Neuroscience and Neurotechnology - Instructions not Included: Neuroethics Required.

Brief communication


Using a metaphorical reminiscence upon holiday toys - and the hopes, challenges and possibilities they presented - this essay addresses the ways that the heuristics, outcomes and products of neuroscience have effected change in the human condition, predicament, and being. A note of caution is offered to pragmatically assess what can be done with neurotechnology, what can't, and what should and shouldn't - based upon the capacities and limitations of both the science, and our collective ability to handle knowledge, power and the unknown. This is not an appeal to impede brain research. To the contrary, it is a call to engage neuroethics as a discipline and set of practices 1) to allow a deeper, more finely-grained understanding of brains and their functions in ecological dynamics (that we define as morality and ethics), and 2) to intuit how to engage neuroscientific research and its applications in the social sphere (inclusive of medicine, public life and national agenda), to more accurately perceive how neuroscience is changing human society and the human being, and to instantiate more relevant ethics and laws that are in step with advancing epistemological capital and technological capability.


Neuroethics Neurotechnology Morality Policy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Neurotechnology Studies, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and Oxford-Uehiro Centre for Practical EthicsUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  3. 3.Center for Neurotechnology StudiesPotomac Institute for Policy StudiesArlingtonUSA
  4. 4.Academic ProgramsPotomac Institute for Policy StudiesArlingtonUSA
  5. 5.Oxford Centre for NeuroethicsUehiro Centre for Practical Philosophy University of OxfordOxfordUK
  6. 6.Department of Electrical and Computational EngineeringUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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