Neuroethics as a brain-based philosophy of life: The case of Michael S. Gazzaniga

Neuroethics 2 (1):3-11 (2008)
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Michael S. Gazzaniga, a pioneer and world leader in cognitive neuroscience, has made an initial attempt to develop neuroethics into a brain-based philosophy of life that he hopes will replace the irrational religious and political belief-systems that still partly govern modern societies. This article critically examines Gazzaniga’s proposal and shows that his actual moral arguments have little to do with neuroscience. Instead, they are based on unexamined political, cultural and moral conceptions, narratives and values. A more promising way of interpreting the belief-forming system of the brain is to say that we cannot avoid thinking in terms of wider frameworks and narratives that are socially embedded and historically developed; consequently, any moral discussion has to be in terms of these frameworks and narratives.



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