Neuroethics of the nonhuman

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Department of Humanities


The Emerging Issues Task Force (Kellmeyer et al. 2019Kellmeyer, P., J. Chandler, L. Cabrera, A. Carter, K.Kreitmair, A. Weiss, and J. Illes, for the Emerging Issues Task Force, International Neuroethics Society. 2019. Neuroethics at 15: The current and future environment for neuroethics. AJOB Neuroscience 10(3): 104–110.[Taylor & Francis Online] , [Google Scholar]) identifies several important trends and concerns that neuroethics will encounter and grapple with in the coming decades. Among these are ethical issues related to the creation of new nonhuman entities, such as artificial intelligence systems, and human origin entities like brain organoids. The task force briefly mentions animal minds and animal rights, to which neuroethics to date has paid scant attention (Buller et al. 2014Buller, T., A. Shriver, and M. Farah. 2014. Guest editorial: Broadening the focus. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 23(2): 124–128. doi: 10.1017/S0963180113000650.[Crossref], [PubMed] , [Google Scholar]). As neuroscientific knowledge and knowledge from other fields, including, to name a few, comparative psychology, primatology, ethology, biology, genetics, and medical sociology, accumulate, ethical concerns about the use of nonhuman animals in research, agriculture, entertainment, and elsewhere will grow more visible and more urgent. Turning neuroethical attention toward nonhuman animals also promises to illuminate issues related to specific human populations that are within the purview of a more expansive, forward-looking neuroethics.

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Publication Title

AJOB Neuroscience