NeuroDialogues: Free Will and Morality in Neurological Contexts

June 6th we invite Neuro-SysMed staff and collaborators to join us for a conversation about autonomy, authenticity, and agency in the context of neurological conditions and challenges. The workshop will be organized as chaired discussions and will not require any formal preparation.

Artistic illustration of a two-faced woman with brain sensors.
Eli V/Photoshop AI.

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When: Thursday June 6th at 19.00-21.00

Where: SVT (Senter for vitenskapsteori/Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities), Seminar room (ground floor), Parkveien 9, 5007 Bergen

Registration: https://skjemaker.app.uib.no/view.php?id=15489308

Who: Neuro-SysMed senior and junior researchers, students, nurses, coordinators and other interested parties

Bring a curious mind and own experience

We invite you to bring a curious and critical mind, kindness, and a story or two from your own clinical and/or scientific practices which foreground experiences related to autonomy, authenticity, and agency in some way or another. These stories will serve as a foundation for the kinds of questions that will inform the discussions, like:

  • How do the moral implications surrounding changes in personality and self-perception intersect with broader societal views on personal autonomy and well-being?
  • How does the application of neurotechnologies challenge our conception of agency, where thoughts and actions originate from neural processes?
  • What ethical dilemmas emerge when neurotechnologies offer the potential to manipulate emotions, memories, or perceptions?
  • How can society ensure that the benefits of neurotechnological interventions are balanced against concerns about maintaining the authentic identity and agency of individuals?
  • How does the use of neurotechnologies confront the delicate balance between individual autonomy and the potential for external neural influence?
  • What ethical and legal considerations arise when neurotechnologies are employed to enhance decision-making capacities for individuals facing neurological challenges?
  • To what extent can we uphold personal responsibility and autonomy when predictive neurology shapes legal and societal expectations about future behavior?

NeuroDialogues is an initiative anchored in the RRI/PPI node within Neuro-SysMed that aims to foster discussions and debates on a wide spectrum of topics at the intersection of severe neurological conditions, technology, and the human mind. It serves as a space for exploring the profound questions raised by the integration of cutting-edge technologies and medical practices in the field of neurology.

Neuro-SysMed is about advancing neurological practices in specific ways and through specific approaches, characterized by integrating cutting-edge technologies and medical practice. In this context, technologies that generate representations of the brain and mental states, alongside drugs and technologies operating within the brain, hold central roles. Importantly, such neurological tools, like neuromodulating and psychotropic drugs, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs), digital phenotyping, and neurofeedback, are all examples of practices and technologies that are also interwoven with contemporary debates and controversies about the future, morality, and evolution of personhood and the humane.

This illustrates how the work at Neuro-SysMed, embedded in and emergent from broader landscapes of neuroscientific and medical discourses, foreground a spectrum of inquiries encompassing not only questions of clinical and scientific relevance but also fundamental
philosophical matters and ethical concerns of societal relevance. Will the use of neuro-technologies prompt us to reevaluate fundamental concepts of ethics and morality in the context of neurological challenges, if so how? What ethical considerations arise when interventions are made to enhance decision-making capacities in individuals with impaired neurological function? What conversations need to occur to address potential cultural biases and ethical implications embedded in neurotechnological interventions?

While some of these questions may initially appear distant from the daily research activities and pursuits at Neuro-SysMed, the associated researchers and clinicians collectively encompass a diverse range of privileged disciplinary perspectives relevant to these topics. As central stake-holders in these developments there is arguable also a responsibility to explore and engage in these debates.

NeuroDialogues is an arena for such conversations and debates. Join us for collective exploration of the mind, technology, and their intersection thinking through the lens of severe neurological conditions!

For questions or suggested topics for future events contact: