Social Neuroscience and Neuroethics: A Fruitful Synergy

  • Arleen Salles
  • Kathinka Evers


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.


Neurobioethics Empirical neuroethics Conceptual neuroethics Social sciences Social neuroscience Neuronal epigenesis 



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.


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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

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