The past two decades have seen unparalleled developments in our knowledge of the brain and mind. However, these advances have forced us to confront head-on some significant ethical issues regarding our application of this information in the real world - whether using brain images to establish guilt within a court of law, or developing drugs to enhance cognition.
Historically, any consideration of the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging technologies in science and medicine has lagged behind the discovery of the technology itself. These delays have caused problems in the acceptability and potential applications of biomedical advances and posed significant problems for the scientific community and the public alike - for example in the case of genetic screening and human cloning. The field of Neuroethics aims to proactively anticipate ethical, legal and social issues at the intersection of neuroscience and ethics, raising questions about what the brain tells us about ourselves, whether the information is what people want or ought to know, and how best to communicate it.
A landmark in the academic literature, the Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics presents a pioneering review of a topic central to the sciences and humanities. It presents a range of chapters considering key issues, discussion, and debate at the intersection of brain and ethics. The handbook contains more than 50 chapters by leaders from around the world and a broad range of sectors of academia and clinical practice spanning the neurosciences, medical sciences and humanities and law. The book focuses on and provides a platform for dialogue of what neuroscience can do, what we might expect neuroscience will do, and what neuroscience ought to do. The major themes include: consciousness and intention; responsibility and determinism; mind and body; neurotechnology; ageing and dementia; law and public policy; and science, society and international perspectives.
Tackling some of the most significant ethical issues that face us now and will continue to do so over the coming decades, the Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics will be an essential resource for the field of neuroethics for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, basic scientists in the neurosciences and psychology, scholars in humanities and law, as well as physicians practising in the areas of primary care in neurological medicine.
About the Editors:
Dr. Illes is Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia. She is Director of the National Core for Neuroethics at UBC, and faculty in the Brain Research Centre at UBC and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. She also holds affiliate appointments in the School of Population and Public Health and the School of Journalism at UBC, and in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA. Dr. Illes' research focuses on ethical, legal, social and policy challenges specifically at the intersection of the neurosciences and biomedical ethics. This includes studies on stem cells and regenerative medicine, functional neuroimaging in basic and clinical research dementia, addiction, neurodevelopmental disorders and the commercialization of cognitive neuroscience.
Barbara J Sahakian is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry, and the Medical Research Council/Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute. She is also a Clinical Psychologist. She has an international reputation in the fields of cognitive psychopharmacology, neuroethics, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry and neuroimaging. She is co-inventor of the CANTAB computerised neuropsychological tests, which are in use world-wide. She is probably best known for her research work on cognition and depression, cognitive enhancement using pharmacological treatments, neuroethics and early detection of Alzheimer's disease. She has over 300 publications covering these topics in various scientific journals. Her current programme of research, investigates the neurochemical modulation of impulsive and compulsive behaviour in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as unipolar and bipolar depression.