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Neuroscience, Neurolaw, and Neurorights

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

Abstract

Neurosciences study the relations between the human brain and human behaviour. Recent developments of these sciences are granting us an increasing possibility to control, or influence, mental processes. In this chapter, I analyse how this possibility is becoming a concrete ability to control socially undesirable behaviour, which is the reason why I choose to investigate the relationship between Neurosciences and the Law. Firstly, with this in mind, I show the new role of the neuroscientists in Courts. Secondly, I analyse new neuro-paradigms in public debates about the structure of Society and the Law. Moreover, I study the so-called reductive neurolaw, which is the gradual replacement of traditional sources of law with new neuro-scientific standards. Finally, I provide a definition of Cognitive Liberty (a new form of safeguard) able to be collected in a “Declaration of Human Neuro-rights”. Indeed, Cognitive Liberty may be used as a new conceptual tool, in order to protect personal human rights against reductive neuro-paradigms.

Keywords

  • Neurocivilization
  • Reductive neurolaw
  • Cognitive liberty
  • Human rights

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-94032-4_7
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Notes

  1. 1.

    “‘Neuroscience’ refers to the multiple disciplines that carry out scientific research on the nervous system to understand the biological basis for behaviour. […] The term ‘neuroscience’ was introduced in the mid-1960s, signaling the start of an era when these disciplines would work together cooperatively, sharing a common language, common concepts, and a common goal: to understand the structure and function of the normal and abnormal brain. Neuroscience today spans a wide range of research endeavors, from the molecular biology of nerve cells, which contain the genes that command production of the proteins needed for nervous system function, to the biological bases of normal and disordered behavior, emotion, and cognition, including the mental properties of individuals as they interact with each other and with their environments” (Committee on Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications, Board on Army Science and Technology, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, National Research Council of the National Academies. Opportunities in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press 2009). See Binder et al. (2009) and the Nobel Prize Kandel (1981).

  2. 2.

    http://neuroethics.upenn.edu/index.php/penn-neuroethics-briefing/responsibility-a-brain-function. Accessed 22 June 2018.

  3. 3.

    Wrye Sententia and Richard Glen Boire are the founders of the Centre for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics (CCLE).

  4. 4.

    Cf. Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethic CCLE, http://www.cognitiveliberty.org. Accessed 04/23/2021.

  5. 5.

    A possible protection is provided by the European Convention on Human Rights in Article 8, which recognizes the right to respect family life, domicile and correspondence and co. 2 states: “There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

  6. 6.

    However, it is necessary to recognize that the rights of the Charter apply only to the institutions, agencies and bodies of the Union respecting the principle of subsidiarity as well as to Member States in the implementation of Union law, as stated in art. 51.

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Sommaggio, P. (2022). Neuroscience, Neurolaw, and Neurorights. 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_7

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