Research Group on Neuroethics/Neurophilosophy
In recent years, the ethical issues arising from the rapid progress of the neurosciences have led to the development of a new scientific discipline: Neuroethics, which combines research on the neurophysiological basis of moral behaviour as well as the applied ethics of neuroscience. The work of the Research Group on Neuroethics/Neurophilosophy focuses on neuroenhancement, brain-computer interaction, moral decision-making and neuroscience & society.
http://www.xenopraxis.net/readings/metzinger_egotunnel.pdf Thomas Metzinger
Metzinger's work addresses some of the fundamental issues in neurobiology, consciousness, and the relationship between mind and body. Metzinger's interests include: Philosophy of mind (esp. philosophical aspects of empirical theories in the neuro- and cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence, and related areas of research). Ethics (esp. conceptual connections between applied ethics, the philosophy of mind and anthropology) Metzinger supervises The Neuroethics Web Portal. He is currently serving on the editorial board for the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness.
from a podcast:
naturalistic turn in the image of man. This is a departure of the traditional image of men, where our mental, psychological properties are the result of an entirely natural bottom-up process of dynamical self-organisation over millennia. We must come to terms for instance with the insight that not only our genes and our bodies are the result of processes that new no foresight. Evolution was driven by chance events, has no direction, has no goal. Now through evolutionary psychology and neuroscience, we learn that even our mental properties are results of a process that had no direction and pursued no goal.
There will be problems. What will be the social-psychological costs of this? How will the general population react to this idea of us very natural, likely mortal, beings. Will there be a scape back to fundamentalism? Or vulgar, hedonistic materialism? We need together to decide what to do with this knowledge and the new potential for action because this all is coming from neuroscience and neurotechnology. We will gradually and increasingly better be able to influence not only the brain but consciousness itself. Neurotechnology will slowly turn into consciousness technology and we will be able to control states of subjective experience in very fine and reliable manners in the future. And there is no way around old philosophical questions. We have to ask not only what is a good action but also what is a good state of consciousness. What state of consciousness we want to show our children. What states of consciousness should be illegal in our society? What kind of consciousness can we force upon animals, for instance in research. What states of consciousness that we want to foster and cultivate in our society. Perhaps what kind or state of consciousness I want to eventually die in. So, there are not only scientific questions, but there are also normative questions. And there is not only the question what is the good action in applying technology to the brain, but it is also the question what is a good life, given all this new knowledge about ourselves and these new potentials for action.