Definition of the problem: Fifteen years after establishing neuroethics as an international academic field, neuroethics has emerged as a vibrant, dynamic area of scientific research. Arguments: Within a short period of a few years, specific conferences, journals, research funding programs, professional societies, and institutes were founded. Nonetheless, considerable disagreement about its definition and subject matter still remain. We argue for a differentiated conceptualization according to which the deliberate reflection of ethical problems arising from the neurosciences and their predominantly neurotechnological application belongs as much to neuroethics as does the ethical reflection of the neuroscience of morality. This does not comprise neuroscientific or neuropsychological research on morality itself, but includes the contemplation of the significance of such research for ethics and the law. Here, we provide an overview about the most important topics in neuroethics and elucidate the relevance of neuroethics for a vast diversity of societal domains reaching well beyond medicine and health care. Conclusion: The great potential of neuroethics as a novel branch of academic research lies in finding new answers to pressing questions of high societal relevance by linking neurophilosophy and bioethics topics as well as its broad interdisciplinary network.
- Neuroscience of morality
- Ethics of neuroscience