Advertisement

Social Neuroscience and Neuroethics: A Fruitful Synergy

  • Arleen Salles
  • Kathinka Evers
Chapter

Abstract

Social neuroscience is shedding new light on the relationship between the brain and its environments. In the process, and despite criticism from the social sciences, the field is contributing to the discussion of long-standing controversies concerning, for example, the “nature-nurture” distinction and the relationships between social and neurobiological structures. In this chapter, we argue that in this endeavor social neuroscience would benefit from partnering with neuroethics insofar as their respective areas and methods of explanation are complementary rather than in competition. We provide a richer account of neuroethics than the one given in social neuroscientists’ common descriptions of that field and suggest that, when understood in this richer (and in our view more adequate) fashion, neuroethics may open up productive avenues for research and play a key role in allowing us to determine social neuroscience’s contribution to unveiling important epistemological as well as ontological notions. Accordingly, social neuroscience and neuroethics may form a constructive partnership.

Keywords

Neurobioethics Empirical neuroethics Conceptual neuroethics Social sciences Social neuroscience Neuronal epigenesis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We wish to thank our colleagues at the Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics and especially Michele Farisco, for their constructive comments and suggestions. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovationprogram under grant agreement 720270 (HBP SGA1).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

References

  1. 1.
    Decety JP, Keenan J. Social neuroscience: a new journal. Soc Neurosci. 2006;1(1):1–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cacciopo J, Berntson G, Decety J. Social neuroscience and its relationship to social psychology. Soc Cogn. 2010;28(6):675–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Decety CJ. Social neuroscience: challenges and opportunities in the study of complex behavior. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011;1224:162–73.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rose N, Abi-Rached J. Neuro: the new brain sciences and the management of the mind. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Evers K. Quand la matière s’éveille. Paris: Éditions Odile Jacob; 2009.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cacciopo J, Berntson G. Social neuroscience. In: Cacciopo J, Berntson G, Adolphs R, et al., editors. Foundations in social neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2002. p. 3–11.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cacciopo J, Berntson G, Adolphs R, et al. Foundations in social neuroscience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rose S. The need for a critical neuroscience. In: Choudhury S, Slaby J, editors. Critical neuroscience. A handbook of the social and cultural contexts of neuroscience. Chichester: Wiley; 2012. p. 53–66.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Northoff G. Minding the brain: a guide to philosophy and neuroscience. Croydon: Palgrave Macmillan; 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cromby J. Integrating social science with neuroscience: potentials and problems. BioSocieties. 2007;2(2):149–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Choudhury S, Nagel S, Slaby J. Critical neuroscience: linking neuroscience and society through clinical practice. BioSocieties. 2009;4:61–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Slaby J, Choudhury S. Proposal for a critical neuroscience. In: Choudhury S, Slaby J, editors. Critical neuroscience: a handbook of the social and cultural cotnexts of neuroscience. Chichester: Wiley; 2012. p. 29–50.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vidal F. Brainhood, anthropological figure of modernity. Hist Human Sci. 2009;22(1):5–36.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Choudhury S, Slaby J. Introduction critical neuroscience-between lifeworld and laboratory. In: Choudhury S, Slaby J, editors. Critical neuroscience. A handbook of the social and cultural contexts of neuroscience. Chichester: Wiley; 2012.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kirmayer L. The future of critical neuroscience. In: Choudhury S, Slaby J, editors. Critical neuroscience. A handbook of the social and cultural contexts of neuroscience. Chichester: Wiley; 2012. p. 367–83.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Slaby J. Steps towards a critical neuroscience. Phenomenol Cogn Sci. 2010;9:397–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Conrad E, De Vries R. Field of dreams: a social history of neuroethics. In: Advances in medical sociology, vol. 13. Bingley: Emerald; 2011.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Brosnan C. The sociology of neuroethics: expectation, discourses and the rise of a new discipline. Sociol Compass. 2011;5(4):287–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fitzgerald D, Callard F. Social science and neuroscience beyond interdisciplinarity: experimental entanglements. Theory Cult Soc. 2015;32(1):3–32.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Evers K, Salles A, Farisco M. Theoretical framing of neuroethics: the need for a conceptual approach. In: Racine E, Aspler J, editors. Debates about neuroethics: perspectives on its development, focus and future. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2017.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ashcroft R. Ethics of neuroscience or neuroscience of ethics? Lancet Neurol. 2006;5:211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pickersgill M. The co-production of science, ethics, and emotion. Sci Technol Hum Values. 2012;37(6):579–603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    De Vries R. Framing neuroethics: a sociological assessment of the neuroethical imagination. Am J Bioeth. 2005;5(2):25–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    De Vries R. Who will guard the guardians of neuroscience? Firing the neuroethical imagination. EMBO Rep. 2007;8(Special Issue):S65–9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fins J. A leg to stand on: Sir William Osler and Wilder Penfield’s “neuroethics”. Am J Bioeth. 2008;8:37–46.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Moreno J. Neuroethics: a agenda for neuroscience and society. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2003;4:149.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Parens E, Johnston J. Does it make sense to speak of neuroethics? EMBO Rep. 2007;8:S61–4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Racine E. Pragmatic neuroethics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Roskies A. Neuroethics for the new millenium. Neuron. 2002;35:21–3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Giordano J. Neuroethics: interacting “traditions” as a viable meta-ethics. Am J Bioeth Neurosci. 2011;2(2):17–9.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Fins J. Rights come to mind: brain injury, ethics, and the struggle for consciousness. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Farah M. The ethical, legal and societal impact of neuroscience. Annu Rev Psychol. 2012;63:571–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Farah M, Hutchinson B, Phelps E, Wagner A. Functional MRI-based lie detection: scientific and societal challenges. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014;15:123.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Farah M, Smith M, Gawuga C, Lindsell D, Foster D. Brain imaging and brain privacy: a realistic concern? J Cogn Neurosci. 2009;21(1):119–27.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Farah M, Illes J, Cook Degan R, Gardner H, Kandel E, King P, et al. Neurocognitive enhandement: what can we do and what should we do? Nat Rev Neurosci. 2004;5:421.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Levy N. Neuroethics: ethics and the sciences of the mind. Philos Compass. 2009;4(1):69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Glannon W. Neuroethics. Bioethics. 2006;20(1):37–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Glannon W. Brain, body and mind: neuroethics with a human face. New York: Oxford University Press; 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Northoff G. What is neuroethics? Empirical and theoretical neuroethics. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2009;22:565–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Churchland P. Braintrust: what neuroscience tells us about morality. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Gazzaniga M. The ethical brain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Levy N. Neuroethics: a new way of doing ethics. Am J Bioeth Neurosci. 2011;2(2):3–9.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Greene J. Moral tribes: emotion, reason, and the gap between us and them. London: Atlantic Books; 2015.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Wagner NF, Northoff G. A fallacious jar? The peculiar relation between descriptive premises and normative conclusions in neuroethics. Theor Med Bioeth. 2015;36:215–35.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Shook J, Giordano J. A principled and cosmopolitan neuroethics: considerations for international relevance. Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 2014;9(1):1.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Avram J, Giordano J. Neuroethics: some things old, some things new, some things borrowed and to do. Am J Bioeth Neurosci. 2014;5(4):23–5.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Racine E, Bar Ilan O, Illes J. fMRI in the public eye. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005;6:159.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Illes J, Racine E. Imaging or imagining? A neuroethics challenge informed by genetics. In: Glannon W, editor. Defining right and wrong in brain science. New York: Dana Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Evers K. Toward a philosophy for neuroethics. EMBO Rep. 2007;8(special issue on neuroscience and society):S48–51.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Melo Martin I, Salles A. Moral bioenhancement: much ado about nothing? Bioethics. 2015;29(4):223–32.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Levy N. Introducing neuroethics. Neuroethics. 2008;1(1):1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Farah MJ, Helberlein AS. Personhood and neuroscience: naturalizing or nihilating? Am J Bioeth. 2007;7(1):37–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Greene J. The secret joke of Kant’s soul. In: Sinnott-Armstrong W, editor. Moral psychology, vol. 3. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2008. p. 35–80.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Changeux JP. The physiology of truth. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press; 2004.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Dehaene S, Sergent C, Changeux JP. A neuronal network model linking subjective reports and objective physiological data during conscious perception. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003;100:8520–5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Changeux JP, Courrege P, Danchin A. A theory of the epigenesis of neuronal networks by selective stabilization of synapses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1973;70:2974–8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Evers K. Neuroethics: a philosophical challenge. Am J Bioeth. 2005;5(2):31–3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Persson I, Savulescu J. The perils of cognitive enhancement and the urgent imperative tp enhance the moral character of humanity. J Appl Philos. 2008;25:162–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Douglas T. Moral enhancement. J Appl Philos. 2008;25:228–45.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Lagercrantz H, Hanson MA, Ment L, Peebles D. The newborn brain: neuroscience and clinical applications. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Lagercrantz H. I barnets hjarna. Stockholm: Bonnier Fakta; 2005.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Collin G, van den Heuvel MP. The ontogeny of the human connectome: development and dynamic changes of brain connectivity across the life span. Neuroscientist. 2013;19(6):616–28.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Changeux JP. Neuronal man. New York: Fayard-Pantheon Books; 1983–1985.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Kitayama S, Uskul AK. Culture, mind and the brain: current evidence and future directions. Annu Rev Psychol. 2011;62:419–49.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Evers K. Can we be epigenetically proactive? In: Metzinger T, Windt JM, editors. Open mind: philosophy and the mind sciences in the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2016. p. 497–518.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Evers K, Changeux JP. Proactive epigenesis and ethical innovation: a neuronal hypothesis for the genesis of ethical rules. EMBO Rep. 2016;17:1361–4.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Salles A. Proactive epigenesis and ethics. EMBO Rep. 2017.  10.15252/embr.201744697. Published online 25.07.2017.
  68. 68.
    Farah M. Neuroethics: an introduction with readings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Illes J. Neuroethics: defining the issues in theory, practice, and policy. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Glannon W. Bioethics and the brain. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Illes J. Empirical neuroethics. EMBO Rep. 2007;8(Special Issue):S57–60.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research Ethics and BioethicsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Centro de Investigaciones FilosóficasBuenos AiresArgentina

Personalised recommendations