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Ethics and Neuroscience: Protecting Consciousness

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Part of the Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment book series (ETHICSSCI,volume 49)

Abstract

One way of developing an ethics for neuroscience is to extend the Hippocratic Oath as an ethical code, taking the health of the patient as the first consideration, and maintaining utmost respect for human life. In this paper I will defend this approach but argue that respect for human life is far more problematic than it seems. Respect for human life would appear to entail respect for the autonomy of people as conscious agents, but mainstream reductionist science and those who fund it enframe humans as standing reserves to be exploited efficiently. Utilizing the perspective provided by philosophical anthropology against such science, I argue that the Hippocratic Oath should be extended to embrace the Kantian imperative to treat humanity always as an end in itself, never as a mere means, implying that neuroscience and its associated medical practices should take as their end the maintenance and augmentation of human autonomy.

Keywords

  • Ethics
  • Neuroscience
  • Consciousness
  • Hippocratic oath
  • Philosophical anthropology
  • Kantian imperative
  • Autonomy

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-94032-4_4
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Correspondence to Arran Gare .

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Gare, A. (2022). Ethics and Neuroscience: Protecting Consciousness. In: López-Silva, P., Valera, L. (eds) Protecting the Mind. Ethics of Science and Technology Assessment, vol 49. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-94032-4_4

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