venerdì 4 maggio 2012

NEUROETHICS WITH A HUMAN FACE (I)

- Brain, Body, Mind and Environment Interactions -

Da mercoledì 2 maggio fino a questa sera, 4 maggio, sto partecipando come esperto, a Roma, al Workshop a porte chiuse sulla “neuroetica con un volto umano”.
L’evento si centra sul recente libro di Walter Glannon intitolato: “Brain, Body, and Mind: Neuroethics with a human face”, edito dalla Oxford University Press, New York 2011.


Il Workshop è stato organizzato dall’Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum di Roma, la Cattedra UNESCO in Bioetica e Diritti Umani, l’Istituto Scienza e Fede e il Gruppo di Neurobioetica. Co-sponsors dell’evento sono: The Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston e l’Health and Law and Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center.
Riporto un brano dello stesso Walter Glannon quale introduzione e sintesi dell’argomento trattato:
“In The Astonishing Hypothesis, Francis Crick confidently asserts that we ‘are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.’ Similarly, Jean-Pierre Changeux states in Neuronal Man that ‘all forms of behavior mobilize distinct sets of nerve cells, and it is at their level that the final explanation of behavior must be sought’.
Further, Joseph LeDoux states that the underlying theme of his book, Synaptic Self, is that ‘you are your synapses.’ These and similar claims made by a number of cognitive neuroscientists suggest that our thought and behavior can be explained completely in terms of neurons, axons, synapses, and neurotransmitters and the ways in which they regulate processes in the brain and central nervous system. This neuroreductionism motivates the claim that our minds are just a function of and thus reducible to our brains. Mental states are constituted solely by brain states. We are essentially our brains. I challenge and reject neuroreductionism by arguing that the mind emerges from and is shaped by interaction among the brain, body, and environment. The mind is not located in the brain but is distributed among these three entities as the organism engages with and constructs meaning from its surroundings. Our capacity for desires, beliefs, intentions, and emotions, and to deliberate, choose, and act, is grounded in the fact that we are embodied and embedded minds. We are embodied minds in the sense that our mental states are generated and sustained by the brain and its interaction with external and internal features of our bodies. We are also embedded minds in the sense that the content and felt quality of our mental states is shaped by how we are situated and act in the natural and social environment. We are constituted by our brains but are not identical to them.
The brain is necessary but not sufficient to account for all the physiological and psychological properties that make each of us a unique person. The mind is not based solely on brain structure and function but on the continuous interaction of the brain with the body and the external world” [1].
Quest’oggi è prevista una parte aperta al pubblico, dale 16 alle 18:30 presso l’Ateneo Regina Apostolorum, via degli Aldobrandeschi, 190, 00163 Roma.


[1] Cf. Walter Glannon, PhD, From: Our brains are not us. Bioethics. Volume 23 Number 6, 2009, pages 321–329.

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