Summaries of Presentations

2012 International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting

October 11 and 12
Galeries 5 & 6, New Orleans Marriott, 555 Canal Street

You can see video of the panels here

At the Cutting Edge of Addiction Neuroethics
Three leading neuroscientists will discuss topics at the intersection of addiction and neuroethics. Dr. Chuck O’Brien focuses on prevention of relapse among parolees who have a history of opioid addiction to enable former addicts to live freely outside of prison, but may also avoid incarcerating non-violent drug addicts committing crimes to support their drug habit. Dr. Rita Goldstein will discuss stimulants to improve cognitive function in cocaine-addicted individuals, as well as the controversies such an approach introduces. Dr. Anthony Phillips will review the Canadian, physician-supervised heroin (NAOMI) trial published recently in the NEJM, a related clinical research that utilizes hydromorphone (SALOME Trial), and consider  evidence-based approaches to difficult public health policy challenges overall.

Altering Personhood

This panel investigates some of the philosophical, ethical, and clinical implications of interventions, including psychotropic drugs and neurotechnologies, that alter personhood and/or personal identity. Prof. Peter Rabins, will explore in what way personal identity can be altered, how this alteration can be conceptualized, steps that might be taken to restore it, and how this might differ from the concept of personhood. Prof. Agnieszka Marie Jaworska, will outline the concept of the capacity to care and its role in personhood and consider whether neuro-degeneration in frontotemporal dementia is likely to result in loss of the capacity to care. Prof. Peter Reiner will discuss decisional enhancement programs (sometimes called 'nudges') and how public attitudes towards covert and overt nudges deepen our appreciation of autonomy.

A Decade of Neuroethics: A Conversation

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Penn/Greenwall workshop on neuroethics and the Stanford Mapping the Field Conference. As the field of Neuroethics enters its adolescence, it continues to define its purview and to develop its connections to neuroscience, ethics, and the world of policy. The panelists, drawn from different places and generations, will engage in conversation about the past, and the future, of neuroethics as a field of study. Steve Hyman will moderate the conversation with Martha Farah, Eric Racine, Verity Brown, and Karen Rommelfanger.  

Brains in Dishes: Animats and Hybrots

Steve Potter of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi from Northwestern, who have developed “brains in dishes,” will join us to talk about taking neurons (or even whole brains) out of organisms to use as information processors. Using these living neural networks, neuroscientists have created simulated animals they call “animats” or “hybrots.”  Paul Wolpe will explore the ethical issues around the use of living neural tissue as the processing components of computer chips or animal brains kept alive in a dish for human purposes.