J. A. Álvarez-Díaz Neurosciences and History 2014;2(1):26-33
Type of article: ORIGINAL
J. A. Álvarez-Díaz Healthcare Department, Division of Biological and Health Sciences. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco Campus, Mexico City.
Introduction. With a view to reaching a more thorough understanding of individual and collective human life, we attempt to analyse the social sciences and humanities from the point of view of the neurosciences. The prototype of the neurohumanities is neurophilosophy. The key issue of this study is to determine whether neuroethics constitutes a single field of knowledge.
Development. Although the neologism ‘neuroethics’ was introduced by Anneliese Pontius in 1973, neuroethics is often believed to have emerged in 2002 at the conference held by the Dana Foundation. Between 1973 and 2002, neuroethics was understood to be a branch of bioethics referring specifically to the ‘ethics of the neurosciences’. Adina Roskies highly influential proposal states that neuroethics also refers to the ‘neuroscience of ethics’. The parallel development of these two concepts has sometimes resulted in confusion and ambiguity. This study proposes retiring the term ‘neuroethics’ and replacing it with more descriptive terms.
Conclusions. It would be more appropriate to refer to ‘encephaloethics’ instead of ethics of neuroscience and ‘neuromorality’ rather than neuroscience of ethics. Each field has its own problems and focus areas and will require different theoretical and methodological approaches.