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Neuroethics Mid-term Study Guide
Terms in this set (40)
Why is there an ethical discipline devoted to the brain and not the other organs?
Unlike other organs in the body, the brain is the organ that makes all individuals unique from one another in terms of personality, emotion, memory, creativity, will, and the ability to dream
What are the two traditions of Neuroethics, know one example of a question from each tradition
1) the ethics of neuroscience, which asks "How should we use current and future neuroscience and neurotech?",
2) the neuroscience of ethics, which asks "How do advances in neuroscience and neurotech influence philosophical questions?".
What does the BRAIN initiative stand for?
"Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies."
What is the Canberra Declaration?
an agreement to combine the advances of the many national efforts to "crack the brain's code" into a large, international effort to produce better tools that will allow for greater, future neuroscience advances.
What is the fact/value distinction?
Facts are what is true about the world.
values are judgements about the way the world ought to be.
Can neuroscience/science be done without Neuroethics/ethics?
No, we need neuroethics to decide which neuroscience research and projects to pursue, and we need facts from neuroscience to inform decisions in neuroethics.
What is the difference between a therapy and an enhancement?
Therapy is helping people become well (equal to the standard).
Enhancement is helping people become better than well (beyond the standard).
What are three categories of therapy/enhancement?
What are four broad categories of neurotechnologies?
Briefly describe the contrasting anthropologies of transhumanists and bioconservatives.
Transhumanists want to overcome the current human condition.
Bioconservatives want us to stay the way we are due to the belief that the current human condition should be preserved.
List and describe all six of the major ethical concerns listed in class?
Safety and Efficacy: How well has the efficacy of various interventions been established?
Privacy: Are the thoughts of people private?
Justice: Can everyone access the technilogy or only the rich?
Cheating: Is it an unfair advantage?
Coercion to keep up: Is it always going to be optional or will it alter the baseline for everyone and force universal adoption.
Paradox of Virtue and Transhumanism: Is overcoming the current human condition virtuous?
What is the is/ought fallacy, and why did this lead many philosophers to think science was largely irrelevant to moral theory?
The idea that moral reasoning/ethics and scientific facts cannot be included within one another and cannot answer questions about each other. An act is not just by reference to a fact, but instead by reference to a moral theory.
This lead many philosophers to think science was largely irrelevant to moral theory because such scientific facts cannot be used to support moral judgements.
What is the parity thesis?
Self-creating and self-modification existed in nature before the development of neuroscience and neurotechnology. Neuroscience and neurotechnology offers us new means of doing what we have always done.
What is phrenology?
The (now discredited) 19th century science that studied bumps on the skull as the basis for behavior and function of the brain.
Know the meaning of the acronym for each assessment technology:
MRI - magnetic resonance imaging
fMRI - functional magnetic resonance imaging
CT - computed tomography
PET - positron emission tomography
DTI - diffusion tensor imaging
EEG - electroencephalogram
MEG - magnetoencephalogram
Describe two technical issues related to validity of deception studies.
Deception detection in the clinic involves a cooperative subject who has been instructed to lie about something trivial. Stakes in the real world are much higher and brains would likely be in very different emotional states.
Deception is thought to activate certain brain regions because it is believed that telling lies is more cognitively taxing than telling the truth. In the real world this may not be true such as when it is just easier to lie or when a lie has been strategically rehearsed.
What are the two legal standards of admissibility in court?
The Frye standard is a legal standard set in court that the scientific evidence is only admissible if the method by which it is obtained is generally accepted within its specific scientific field.
The Daubert standard is a legal standard set in court that suggests that judges be selective of the scientific evidence that is presented on the basis of validity, reliability, experimental replication, and acceptance, rather than simply molding their opinions to all presented evidence.
What is one ethical or legal concern about use of deception detecting neurotech?
Whether or not participants in court have a 5th Amendment right to privacy over the information gathered from their brains, or is such information simply evidence owned by the government.
Know the meaning of the acronym for each intervention technology: BMI, DBS, tDCS, TMS.
BMI: Brain Machine Interface
DBS: Deep Brain Stimulation
tDCS: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
TMS: Transcrainial Magnetic Stimulation
What is the method of ego-depletion that Levy describes as a traditional means of mind control?
External psychological techniques of mind-control and mind-reading; techniques which deplete the limited resource of self-control.
What ancient Roman physician recorded the first known instance of neurostimulation?
Scribonius Largus when he used an electric fish on the brain to relieve migraines.
What is the meaning of the Greek words (noos and tropein) from which nootropics is derived?
Noos = "mind"
Tropein = "To bend/turn"
What is the difference between indirect and direct means for changing the mind?
Indirect means: Attempting to change one's mind via appeal to their rational capacity for reflection on evidence and argument.
Direct means: Attempting to change one's mind by bypassing their rational capacities (Ex: ECt, psychosurgery, TMS, DBS, pharmacology).
What are two reasons Levy considers for the presumption against direct manipulation of the mind? What is one objection he raises to each reason?
Authenticity: Direct manipulation threatens authenticity, pills just cover up the person you really are. Counter: (Jean-Paul Sartre) We are who we choose to become, not some pre-given self.
Mechanization of the Self: When we treat ourselves as if we were machines, we risk everything that makes us more than mere machines. Counter: It is often appropriate to treat ourselves as machines, and we do it all the time (like going for a run or eating better to feel better). We are machines in a sense, and its ok to use that fact to help treat mental illness.
Why does Levy believe the holism of mental content poses a significant obstacle to radical memory deletion/insertion?
Levy believes that the more central a memory is to one's identity in the characterization sense, the more difficult it will be to insert.
What is narrative harm?
We build our identities dialogically, with others who witness, recognize, and remember key details of our lives. You can harm another person by erasing memories about them.
What is the Somatic Marker Hypothesis, and how does it raise an ethical concern around the manipulation of emotions?
That gut feelings and bodily reactions (somatic markers) are necessary to think rationally. Although emotion can sometimes distort judgement, it is also necessary to facilitate good decision making.
What does DARPA stand for?
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Describe two neuroweapons discussed in class.
Augmented Reality: DARPA is developing a "cortical modem", whose purpose would be to "create a sense of augmented reality, a visual overlay on top of one's normal visual perception"
Managing the Fear Gene: A gene called stathmin which is expressed in the amygdala, is associated with fear. Researchers knock this gene out of mice and find them less fearful to shock and more courageous in an open field. Translation of this research and expansion for increased human neural complexity is underway.
Describe two ways the paradigms of science and the military conflict.
The Military relies on secrecy, while science is inherently public
The Military is focused with immediate threats while science is a long slow process validating the safety and effectiveness of new technologies
What is dual use technology? What is the problem of dual use?
Technology that has usage in two different areas.
The fact that the scientific breakthroughs in the civilian sector can also be used by the military for malevolent ends. EX: Nuclear Physics.
What is the Collingridge Dilemma?
Consequences cannot be easily foreseen until a technology is actually deployed and change is difficult once the technology has become entrenched.
What is the precautionary principle?
Until their developers can prove that they will not cause any harm to individuals, groups, specific entities, cultural norms, or various existing laws, norms, or traditions, innovations should be prohibited, curtailed, modified, junked, or ignored.
What is the difference between behavioral and diagnostic neurogenetics
Diagnostic Neurogenetics: Identifies the genetic basis for diseases and pathologies of the brain and nervous system which can help identify factors that cause or increase risk for those conditions.
Behavioral neurogenetics: Identifies the genes associated with various positive personality traits and abilities, as well as negative traits such as violence and aggression.
What is genetic determinism?
The dogma that one's genes are solely responsible for who one becomes.
What is eugenics? What is the difference between positive and negative eugenics?
The belief in improving the qualities of the human species, especially by means of positive and negative breeding.
Positive Eugenics: Determine who can breed, trying to make ideal matches.
Negative Eugenics: Determine who can't breed, sterilizing the unfit.
Describe the medical and social models of disability
Medical Model of Disability: disability is an impairment or dysfunction inherent in a particular kind of body. It is best managed by medical interventions on that body.
Social Model of Disability: Disability is a function of the poor fit between an individual body and its environment. Disability can be managed by changing the body and its environment, or some combination of both.
What is the non-identity problem?
You can't use abortion to protect the health of a fetus, it will either be born with an impairment or not at all, and it is worse to not exist at all. Some conditions may be so severe that abortion could be considered the lesser harm, but the vast majority of disabilities still permit people to have lives that are worth living.
What is the argument from neurodiversity?
People who have different brains give the human population neurodiversity. This is important because we as a human species thrive based off of our diverse traits. This need for diversity therefore should extend to the mind.
What is the expressivist argument?
Testing for a particular condition symbolically devalues everyone currently living with that condition. It sends the message that having that condition makes their life not worth living.
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