Bonding Brains to Machines: Ethical Implications of Electroceuticals for the Human Brain
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Novel neurotechnologies like deep brain stimulation and brain-computer interfaces promise clinical benefits for severely suffering patients. Nevertheless, such electroceuticals raise several ethical issues on different levels: while on the level of clinical neuroethics issues with direct relevance for diagnosis and treatment have to be discussed, on the level of research neuroethics questions regarding research and development of these technological devices like investigating new targets and different diseases as well as thorough inclusion criteria are dealt with. On the level of theoretical neuroethics more general questions are examined including anthropological considerations on “normal” human functioning as well as implications on personality, personal identity and authenticity. This paper presents a brief review on ethical issues of deep brain stimulation and brain computer interfacing and simultaneously introduces to this themed issue with thirteen contributions dealing from different perspectives with ethical implications of electroceuticals for the human brain.
KeywordsDeep brain stimulation Brain computer interface Medical ethics Research ethics Enhancement
This special issue traces back to the panel “Bonding Brian to Machines” at the World Congress for Bioethics in Singapore 2010. A call for abstracts on ethical issues in DBS and articles submitted independently to this journal completed the contribution at hand. The author wants to thank all speakers at the Singapore panel and all contributors to this special issue.
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