Fred Kavli Distinguished Neuroethics Lecture

With support from The Kavli Foundation, the International Neuroethics Society hosts the Fred Kavli Distinguished Neuroethics Lecture each year as part of our annual meeting.

The Kavli Foundation


2021 INS Annual Meeting
Friday, November 5, 2021

Anita L. Allen

Anita L. Allen is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She is internationally renown as an expert on philosophical dimensions of privacy and data protection law, ethics, bioethics, legal philosophy, women’s rights, and diversity in higher education.

My Harvard Headache: Brain, Pain, and Black People

This talk used a harrowing personal experience with a 3-year headache to launch a discussion of opioid use and racial disparities in the context of the medical treatment of and social responses to adults experiencing headache pain, visual aura, photophobia, aphasia and other symptoms of migraine.


2020 INS Annual Meeting
Friday, October 23, 2020

Image of Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book 'Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code.' For more info visit:

Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin explores a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity — what she terms the 'New Jim Code.' This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight in the context of neuroscience. It will also consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. In doing so, Ruha challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.


2019 INS Annual Meeting
Friday, October 18, 2019

Image of Martha Farah

Martha J. Farah

Professor Farah has degrees in metallurgy and philosophy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in psychology from Harvard University. Now she is a cognitive neuroscientist and her research focusses on socioeconomic status (SES) and brain development. SES is linked to the way we think and solve problems and to our well-being and mental health. She is a founding director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Farah was also one of the founders of the International Neuroethics Society.

Socioeconomic status and brain development: from science to policy



2018 INS Annual Meeting
Friday, November 2, 2018

Image of Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys

Stanford University

Values, science, and public policy towards the opioid epidemic

Addiction to and overdose from opioids is the worst epidemic the United States has faced for many decades. Science on the brain, on treatment options, and on public policies, can and should inform how policymakers respond to the epidemic. But ethical issues including how to balance the need for pain relief with the need to avoid addiction can't be empirically resolved but instead have to be struggled with as part of the political process. This presentation brings the empirical and ethical issues together to suggest policies that will turn back the opioid epidemic.

Pre-interview: Addiction and Policy Expert is Taking a Crash Course in Neuroscience


2017 INS Annual Meeting
Friday, November 10, 2017

Image of Patricia Churchland; By Vera de Kok, Brainwash Festival 2015; via Wikiepdia

Patricia Churchland

University of California, San Diego (Emeritus)

Neuroethics: Progress in Understanding our Social Lives

In the years since that first memorable neuroethics meeting in San Francisco in 2002, have we learned more about the brain basis for moral behavior? Yes, and remarkably so. Two lanes of brain research that are especially relevant to understanding the basis for morality have blossomed: first, social neuroscience is revealing the underpinnings of social bonding and why we trust and care about family and friends. This is the platform for morality. Secondly, research on the wiring supporting reinforcement learning is revealing how we acquire norms and values, along with the powerful feelings that accompany them and influence decisions. These are the social behaviors that take shape on the platform. What remains poorly understood is social problem solving — how social norms emerge or are modified in response to ecological and other pressures. These are the social institutions, from modest to monumental, that give direction and predictability in a culture.