Special Section: Philosophical Issues in Neuroethics
Brain research in neuroscience and related fields is changing our understanding of the brain and its relation to the mind and to human behavior, giving a new impetus to the problem of free will and moral responsibility. The reactions have covered the entire range, from claims to the effect that neuroscientific research is showing that our folk–psychological understanding of conscious free will and moral responsibility is deeply mistaken to claims to the effect that neuroscientific research is irrelevant to moral issues of free will and responsibility. In any case, neuroscience is posing some serious challenges to our conceptions of free will and moral responsibility.
Gardar Árnason, Ph.D., is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Social and Moral Philosophy, University of Helsinki, Finland. His research interests include bioethics, neuroethics, and the philosophy of science. He coedited The Ethics and Governance of Human Genetic Databases (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Blood and Data: Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Human Genetic Databases (University of Iceland Press, 2004).
The research for this paper was conducted as a part of Neuroscience and Norms: Ethical and Legal Aspects of Norms in Neuroimaging (NeuroSCAN) / Ethical Concepts and Norms, a project funded by the Academy of Finland (SA 1124638).