Neuroethics: memory interventions⁄brain stimulation

Ethical discussion of neuroscience and neurotechnology is crucial as it deals with the organ that has been considered the core of ourselves, namely the brain. In the past a great deal of ethical reflection was dedicated to neurocognitive enhancers such as pharmaceuticals, or more recently to brain imaging techniques. However, these are only two of the different fields covered by neurotechnology. Other important forms to intervene in the brain are brain stimulation and brain computer interfaces.

Neuroscience and neurotechnology, as with any other scientific, technical and intellectual endeavour, seem to produce not only new knowledge, but also new questions and challenges. As such even though they have great potential to help us better understand long held questions about ourselves and tackle neuro-related health problems, they also bring along new risks and dangers; producing new or exacerbating previous economic, political, social, cultural, as well as ethical challenges.

This is a project in neuroethics and focuses especially on memory interventions and brain stimulation. Neuroethics, as an ethical field of inquiry, groups many and sometimes diverse ethical issues. Within the area of memory interventions ethical issues connected to the possibility of suppressing, dampening or enhancing someone’s memory are analysed. Other issues deal with the role medicine and medical practitioners should have connected to intervening memory.

Ethical issues are investigated in the area of brain stimulation from invasive stimulation techniques such as Deep Brain Stimulation or other forms of brain implant to the use of transcranial direct current stimulation or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

As part of this research emergent technologies (such as nanotechnology and neurotechnology) and the different ethical issues they pose within neuroethics are investigated.

Who is who

Institute for
Biomedical Ethics

Universität Basel
Bernoullistrasse 28
CH-4056 Basel

Tel. +41 (0)61 267 09 62