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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
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Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2011.2.02

Stephan Schleim, Felix Schirmann

Neuroethics deals with the normative implications of advances and new technology of neuroscience. Some scholars argue that experiments on moral judgment might allow solutions to moral problems in the future or already nowadays. We discuss this research under the label of moral physiology to delineate this theoretical question from the normative implications of applied neurotechnology. After summarizing influential theories of the field we turn to a methodological and theoretical reflection concerning the way to inves­tigate moral judgment experimentally, as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging, one of the leading methods of behavioural and cognitive neuroscience. We relate this to general challenges within neuroethics, philosophy, and a multi-disciplinary view on human morality. We argue that moral physiology may indeed yield normatively relevant findings but only under the assumption of certain normative stances which cannot be justified ultimately by neuroscience experiments.

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