Neuroethics and human enhancement

A.A. 2021/2022
6
Crediti massimi
40
Ore totali
SSD
M-FIL/03
Lingua
Inglese
Obiettivi formativi
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with neuroethics enabling them to understand the challenges, the opportunities, and the implications the study of our brain functioning can have on our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
In particular, the course would be structured in two modules dealing with the two branches of neuroethics identified by Roskies (2002): the neuroscience of ethics (a) and the ethics of neuroscience (b).
The first one (a) will be devoted to (I) providing the methodological basis to understand how an interdisciplinary field such as neuroethics can and should work; (II) examining the debate on moral judgment, moral decision-making, and moral dilemmas on the basis of philosophical and neuroscientific research (thus, connecting with the course Facts, principles and hard choices); (III) understanding how some of the concepts we currently use both in philosophical debates and in our daily moral, political, legal, and social practice - such as empathy, trust, freedom, and responsibility - should be revised on the basis of the knowledge we have acquired on our brain functioning.
The second module (b) will delve into moral and cognitive enhancement made possible by recent technological advancements. The discussion of this possibility will focus on the ethical, social, and political issues it raises.
Risultati apprendimento attesi
At the end of the course, students are expected to be familiar with the central issues in neuroethics.
In particular, they are expected to:

1)present clearly and have an adequate knowledge of the contents of the course;
2)possess the appropriate jargon;
3)identify the challenges, opportunities, and implications of the study of our brain functioning from a moral, political, social, and legal point of view;
4)have the ability to integrate knowledge in an interdisciplinary way;
5) be capable of a personal and original elaboration of the contents discussed.
Programma e organizzazione didattica

Edizione unica

Periodo
Primo trimestre
All the lessons will be held on campus and they will also be live streamed using Microsoft Teams (course code: emgtaeu).
All lessons will also be recorded and made available afterwards on Ariel.

The program and the materials required will not change due to the sanitary emergency.
Programma
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with neuroethics enabling them to understand the challenges, the opportunities, and the implications the study of our brain functioning can have on our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
In particular, the course would be structured in two modules dealing with the two branches of neuroethics identified by Roskies (2002): the neuroscience of ethics (a) and the ethics of neuroscience (b).
The first one (a) will be devoted to (I) providing the methodological basis to understand how an interdisciplinary field such as neuroethics can and should work; (II) examining the debate on moral judgment, moral decision-making, and moral dilemmas on the basis of philosophical and neuroscientific research (thus, connecting with the course Facts, principles and hard choices); (III) understanding how some of the concepts we currently use both in philosophical debates and in our daily moral, political, legal, and social practice - such as empathy, trust, freedom, and responsibility - should be revised on the basis of the knowledge we have acquired on our brain functioning.
The second module (b) will delve into moral and cognitive enhancement made possible by recent technological advancements. The discussion of this possibility will focus on the ethical, social, and political issues it raises.


The preliminary program (to be defined more specifically on the basis of students' interests) is as follows:

Module a:
Lesson 1: introduction to neuroethics and the neuroscientific revolution.
Lesson 2: neuroethics' branches (pre-reading Roskies 2002).
Lesson 3: neuromania and the methods of neuroethics (a.I).
Lesson 4: introduction to moral judgment, moral decision-making, and moral dilemmas with reference to both philosophical and empirical literature (a.II).
Lesson 5: the camera analogy (pre-reading Greene 2014).
Lesson 6: the sentimental rules' hypothesis (pre-reading Nichols 2004).
Lesson 7: moral judgment as educated intuitions (pre-reading Sauer 2012).
Lesson 8: general discussion (students will be divided in groups favouring one of the models reviewed and will be required to argue for it and defend it against other views).
Lessons 9-10: revising some of our ordinary concepts: freedom, trust, and responsibility (a.III).
Lesson 11: general discussion on the moral, political, legal, and social repercussions of revising such concepts (students will be divided in groups: the eliminativists, the "perched", and those in favour of a mild revision).
Module b:
Lesson 12: introduction to human enhancement (b).
Lesson 13: cognitive enhancement: What is it and how to do it?
Lesson 14: objections to cognitive enhancement and general discussion.
Lessons 15-16: moral enhancement: Enhancing empathy?
Lesson 17: objections to moral enhancement. Is there an alternative to enhancing empathy?
Lesson 18: motivational enhancement (pre-reading Maslen, Savulescu, Hunt 2019).
Lesson 19: discussion on the implication of neuroscience for ethics and of ethics for neuroscience.
Lesson 20: conclusions of the course, discussion of the topics reviewed.
Prerequisiti
Although the course has no formal prerequisites, it will pick up some of the issues briefly discussed during the course "Facts, principles and hard choices" (I years).
Metodi didattici
The course is composed of taught classes, lessons in which students are required to pre-read an article, present it and discuss it, lessons in which the central issues presented will be discussed thoroughly (general discussion) and debate lessons.
Materiale di riferimento
The slides used for the lessons will be available and will constitute part of the material for the exam.
In addition, here is a list of the required (and some optional) readings:

Lesson 1: Reichlin, M. (2012), "Neuroethics", in D.Fassin (ed.), A Companion to Moral Anthropology, First Edition (pp. 595-610). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Lesson 2: Roskies, A. (2002), "Neuroethics for the New Millennium", Neuron, 35, pp. 21-23 (to be read before the lesson).
Lesson 3: Songhorian, S. (2019), "The Methods of Neuroethics: Is the Neuroscience of Ethics Really a New Challenge to Moral Philosophy?", Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia, 10/1, pp. 1-15.
Lesson 4: Edmonds, D. (2014), Would You Kill the Fat Man? The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong, Princeton: Princeton University Press (chapters: 2, 3, 4, 5, 9).
Reichlin, M. (2012), "Neuroethics", in D.Fassin (ed.), A Companion to Moral Anthropology, First Edition (pp. 595-610). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, pp. 600-602.
Lesson 5: Greene, J. D. (2014), "Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics", Ethics, 124/4, pp. 695-726 (to be read before the lesson).
Lesson 6: Nichols, S. (2004), Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. (chapter 1; to be read before the lesson).
Lesson 7: Sauer, H. (2012), "Educated Intuitions. Automaticity and Rationality in Moral Judgment", Philosophical Explorations, 15/3, pp. 255-275 (to be read before the lesson).
Lessons 9-10: Soon, C. S., Brass, M., Heinze, H. J., Haynes, J.-D. (2008), "Unconscious Determinants of Free Decisions in the Human Brain", Nature Neuroscience, 11, pp. 543-545.
Reichlin, M. (2012), "Neuroethics", in D.Fassin (ed.), A Companion to Moral Anthropology, First Edition (pp. 595-610). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 605-607.
Songhorian, S. (2018), "Implicit Attitudes' Challenge to Moral Responsibility", Notizie di Politeia, XXXIV, 131, pp. 73-88 [optional].
Songhorian, S. (2019), "Trust, Implicit Attitudes, and the Malleability of Group Identities", Teoria. Rivista di Filosofia, 39/1, pp. 137-155 [optional].
Lesson 12: Reichlin, M. (2012), "Neuroethics", in D.Fassin (ed.), A Companion to Moral Anthropology, First Edition (pp. 595-610). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 598-600.
Lessons 13-14: Turner, D. C., Sahakian, B. J. (2006), "Neuroethics of Cognitive Enhancement", Biosocieties, 1, pp. 113-123.
Bostrom, N., Sandberg, A. (2009), "Cognitive Enhancement: Methods, Ethics, Regulatory Challenges", Science and Engineering Ethics, 15, pp. 311-341.
Lessons 15-16: Persson, I., Savulescu, J. (2008), "The Perils of Cognitive Enhancement and the Urgent Imperative to Enhance the Moral Character of Humanity", Journal of Applied Philosophy, 25, pp. 162-177.
Persson, I., Savulescu, J. (2012), "Moral Enhancement, Freedom, and the God Machine", Monist, XCV/3, pp. 399-421.
Lesson 17: Ray, K., Gallegos de Castillo, L. (2019), "Moral Bioenhancement, Social Biases, and the Regulation of Empathy", Topoi, 38/1, pp. 125-133.
Reichlin, M. (2019), "The Moral Agency Argument Against Moral Bioenhancement", Topoi, 38/1, pp. 53-62.
Douglas, T. (2014), "Enhancing Moral Conformity and Enhancing Moral Worth", Neuroethics, 7, pp. 75-91 [optional].
Lesson 18: Maslen H., Savulescu J., Hunt C. (2019) "Praiseworthiness and Motivational Enhancement: 'No Pain, No Praise'?", Australasian Journal of Philosophy. DOI: 10.1080/00048402.2019.1618883 (to be read before the lesson).

Required readings for the exam (plus slides):

1. Bostrom, N., Sandberg, A. (2009), "Cognitive Enhancement: Methods, Ethics, Regulatory Challenges", Science and Engineering Ethics, 15, pp. 311-341.
2. Edmonds, D. (2014), Would You Kill the Fat Man? The Trolley Problem and What Your Answer Tells Us about Right and Wrong, Princeton: Princeton University Press (chapters: 2, 3, 4, 5, 9).
3. Greene, J. D. (2014), "Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics", Ethics, 124/4, pp. 695-726 (to be read before the lesson).
4. Maslen H., Savulescu J., Hunt C. (2019) "Praiseworthiness and Motivational Enhancement: 'No Pain, No Praise'?", Australasian Journal of Philosophy. DOI: 10.1080/00048402.2019.1618883 (to be read before the lesson).
5. Nichols, S. (2004), Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. (chapter 1; to be read before the lesson).
6. Persson, I., Savulescu, J. (2008), "The Perils of Cognitive Enhancement and the Urgent Imperative to Enhance the Moral Character of Humanity", Journal of Applied Philosophy, 25, pp. 162-177.
7. Persson, I., Savulescu, J. (2012), "Moral Enhancement, Freedom, and the God Machine", Monist, XCV/3, pp. 399-421.
8. Ray, K., Gallegos de Castillo, L. (2019), "Moral Bioenhancement, Social Biases, and the Regulation of Empathy", Topoi, 38/1, pp. 125-133.
9. Reichlin, M. (2019), "The Moral Agency Argument Against Moral Bioenhancement", Topoi, 38/1, pp. 53-62.
10. Reichlin, M. (2012), "Neuroethics", in D.Fassin (ed.), A Companion to Moral Anthropology, First Edition (pp. 595-610). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
11. Roskies, A. (2002), "Neuroethics for the New Millennium", Neuron, 35, pp. 21-23 (to be read before the lesson).
12. Sauer, H. (2012), "Educated Intuitions. Automaticity and Rationality in Moral Judgment", Philosophical Explorations, 15/3, pp. 255-275 (to be read before the lesson).
13. Songhorian, S. (2019), "The Methods of Neuroethics: Is the Neuroscience of Ethics Really a New Challenge to Moral Philosophy?", Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia, 10/1, pp. 1-15.
14. Soon, C. S., Brass, M., Heinze, H. J., Haynes, J.-D. (2008), "Unconscious Determinants of Free Decisions in the Human Brain", Nature Neuroscience, 11, pp. 543-545.
15. Turner, D. C., Sahakian, B. J. (2006), "Neuroethics of Cognitive Enhancement", Biosocieties, 1, pp. 113-123.
Modalità di verifica dell’apprendimento e criteri di valutazione
Part of the final evaluation will depend on the students' pro-active engagement in the discussions in class (30%). The final exam will consist in an oral discussion of the central issues in neuroethics.
In particular, during the exam, students are expected to:

1) present clearly and have an adequate knowledge of the contents of the course;
2) possess the appropriate jargon;
3) identify the challenges, opportunities, and implications of the study of our brain functioning from a moral, political, social, and legal point of view;
4) have the ability to integrate knowledge in an interdisciplinary way;
5) be capable of a personal and original elaboration of the contents discussed.
M-FIL/03 - FILOSOFIA MORALE - CFU: 6
Lezioni: 40 ore
Docente: Songhorian Sarah