Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency (Gen Ed 1064)





Can we reconcile the scientific 'brain as a machine' view with our strong experience of moral agency?


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Steven Hyman

Advances in brain science have the potential to diminish many forms of human suffering and disability that are rooted in disordered brain function. But what are the ethical implications involved in altering the structure and function of human brains? What’s at stake when we have the ability to alter a person’s narrative identity, create brain-computer interfaces, and manipulate social and moral emotion? In this course, you will ask and attempt to answer these questions, and discuss the implications of mechanistic explanations of decision-making and action for widely-held concepts of moral agency and legal culpability. This course will prepare you to be a thoughtful citizen of a world characterized by rapidly emerging understandings of human brain function, and by new technologies intended to repair or influence human brains.

Register for Gen Ed 1064