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Neuroethics- On the Interplay Between Neuroscience and Ethics

Neuroethics- On the Interplay Between Neuroscience and Ethics

Funded by the Swiss Cogito Foundation, this two-year project begun in August 2015 seeks to understand the ways in which the brain and behavioral sciences might provide insight into moral and philosophical questions. It is intended to be an interdisciplinary meditation on how we can simultaneously ground philosophical thought in empirical science, and extend scientific findings to their greatest philosophical implications. Rather than directly studying the neural correlates of moral and philosophical judgments, the project aims to develop a theoretical of the scope and limits of such studies. Questions central to the project include: How do neuroscientific insights into moral and immoral behavior relate to the actual status of those behaviors as moral or immoral? What can studying the way people happen to formulate moral and philosophical judgments teach us about the accuracy of those judgments? In what ways have previous researchers exaggerated, overgeneralized, or misinterpreted descriptive findings in neuroscience to suit their normative ethical recommendations?

A workshop was held on this topic in April of 2016.

This project is spearheaded by Geoff Holtzman and Elisabeth Hildt.


Holtzman, Geoffrey S. 2017. "A neuropsychological challenge to the sentimentalism/rationalism distinction." Synthese. Published Online DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1344-9

Holtzman, Geoffrey S. 2016. "Adjudicating Adjudication and the Problem of Epistemic Caution." AJOB Neuroscience. 7(3):179-184. DOI: 10.1080/21507740.2016.1225846

Holtzman, Geoffrey S. 2016. "Rejecting Beliefs, or Rejecting Believers? On the Importance and Exclusion of Women in Philosophy" Hypatia. 31(2)293 -312. DOI: 10.1111/hypa.12246

Holtzman, Geoffrey S. 2015 "When Phrenology Was Used in Court: Lessons in Neuroscience from the 1834 Trial of a 9-Year-Old." Slate Magazine. December 15, 2015.