Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 447: Issues in Cognitive Science

PHIL 324/447: Issues in Cognitive Science: Neuroethics

Joseph Vukov

Neuroethics encompasses two fields of study: the ethics of neuroscience and the neuroscience of ethics. In this course, we will consider both fields, but will focus on the former. More specifically, we will consider how neuroethicists use classic bioethical principles (and sometimes, philosophical resources such as the metaphysics of personal identity) to address ethical questions that are emerging from new neuroscientific discoveries and technologies. Throughout the semester, we will be considering several issues in the ethics of neuroscience, including the following:

  • To what extent is it morally permissible to engage in neurocognitive enhancement?
  • What is the relationship between death and brain death?
  • What are our obligations to patients with disorders of consciousness, and has our progress in neuroscience affected the way we should understand these obligations?
  • How does the picture of human nature painted by neuroscience affect the way we should understand ourselves as persons?

Students who complete the course will be expected to familiarize themselves with the conversations that have arisen in response to these and similar questions. Students will also be expected to complete weekly blog posts, participate regularly in class, and write a final paper on a topic of their own choosing.