Defining Right and Wrong in Brain Science
Essential Readings in Neuroethics (Foreword by Walter Glannon, Ph.D)

Defining Right and Wrong in Brain Science is an authoritative record of the emerging ideas that are defining neuroethics. Edited by University of Calgary philosophy professor Walter Glannon, it is an essential reference for anyone who wants to understand how these issues have taken shape.

Contributors include Adina Roskies, writing on neuroethics for the New millennium, Martha J. Farah and Paul Root Wolpe on monitoring and manipulating brain function, Antonio Damasio on the neural basis of social behavior, and Alan Leshner on ethical issues in taking neuroscience research from bench to bedside. Other thinkers represented in this collection are British Medical Research Council Chairman Colin Blakemore, Patricia Smith Churchland, Arthur Caplan, Paul McHugh, and Anjan Chatterjee.

This book will be indispensable to readers curious about how discoveries in brain science are stirring up classic--and new--questions of ethics.

This new volume is the fifth in The Dana Foundation Series on Neuroethics.

Part I:  Foundational Issues

William Safire, Visions for a New Field of Neuroethics

Adina Roskies, Neuroethics for the New Millenium

Martha J. Farah, Emerging Ethical Issues

Martha J. Farah and Paul Root Wolpe, Monitoring and Manipulating Brain Function: New Technologies

Donald Kennedy, Neuroscience and Neuroethics

Part II:  Professional Obligation and Public Understanding

Colin Blakemore, From the Public Understanding of Science to

Scientists Understanding of the Public

Alan Leshner, Taking Neuroscience Research from Bench to Bedside

John Timpane, Models for the Neuroethical Debate in the Community

Part III: Neuroimaging

Judy Illes, Neuroethics in a New Era of Neuroimaging

Judy Illes, et al., Managing Incidental Findings

Jennifer Kulynych, Human Subjects Protection, Medical Privacy, and the Public Communication of Research Results

Alen Mamourian, Incidental Findings

July Illes and Eric Racine, A Challenge Informed by Genetics

Lynette Reid and Francoise Baylis, Brains, Genes, and the Making of the


Part IV:  Free Will, Moral Reasoning, and Responsibility

Antonio Damasio, The Neural Basis of Social Behavior

Patricia Smith Churchland, Reflections on the Neural

Basis of Morality

Michael Gazzaniga, My Brain Made Me Do It

Stephen J.Morse, New Neuroscience, Old Problems: Legal Implications

W. D. Casebeer, Moral Cognition and Its Neural Constituents

J. D. Greene, From Neural Is to Moral Ought

Part V:  Psychopharmacology

President’s Council on Bioethics, Better Memories?

Walter Glannon, ³Psychopharmacology and Memory²

Arthur Caplan and Paul McHugh, Shall We Enhance? A Debate

Martha J. Farah, et al., Neurocognitive Enhancement

Anjan Chatterjee, ³The Promise and Predicament of Cosmetic Neurology²

Part VI. Brain Injury and Brain Death

Guy McKhann, ³Brain Death in an Age of Heroic Medicine²

Joseph J. Fins, An Ethical Stereotaxy for Severe Brain Injury

N.D. Schiff and J. J. Fins, Hope for Comatose Patients

Joseph J. Fins, ³Rethinking Disorders of Consciousness

Epilogue: Steven Rose, Ethics in a Neurocentric World



"The ethical implications of neuroscience are truly novel, since the ability to intervene in the brain in many ways is a recent phenomenon."

-From the Introduction by Walter Glannon, Ph.D.


From Part I: Foundational Issues

“Emerging Ethical Issues in Neuroscience” by Martha J. Farah

If drugs and other forms of central nervous system intervention can be used to improve the mood, cognition or behavior of people with problems in these areas, what might they do for normal individuals? Some treatments can be viewed as ‘normalizers,’ which have little or no effect on systems that are already normal (for instance, the mood stabilizer lithium) and will not therefore figure in debates over enhancement. Other treatments can indeed make normal people ‘better than normal.’ Pharmacological enhancement is arguably being practiced now in several psychological domains: enhancement of mood, cognition and vegetative functions, including sleep, appetite, and sex…

What changes might healthy individuals hope to experience through the use of antidepressant medication? Mood enhancement belongs on the docket of new and imminent bioethical issues in neuroscience only if current and foreseeable medications can deliver pleasing results to healthy people…

Pharmacological manipulations of other neurotransmitter systems can alter cognitive abilities, including attention and memory. Attention, in the sense of sustained effort and resistance to distraction, is primarily modulated by dopamine and norepinephrine. Stimulant medication, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderol) affect both systems and are effective in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In normal individuals, these drugs induce reliable changes in vigilance, response time and higher cognitive functions, such as novel problem-solving and planning. As it turns out, thousands of normal healthy children and adults have discovered similar effects on their own…

In sum, enhancement is not just a theoretical possibility. Enhancement of mood, cognition and vegetative functions in healthy people is now a fact of life, and the only uncertainties concern the speed with which new and more appealing enhancement methods will become available and attract more users.