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NS&B 317
Spring 2017
Section: 01  

Ethics or morality is one of the complex features of human behavior. This course will explore "Neuroethics" from two perspectives. (1) The neuroscience of ethics, i.e. the role of the human brain in ethical or moral behavior. (2) The ethics of neuroscience, i.e. the ethical implications of manipulating the brain. The first perspective will relate to the premise that human morality is embodied in and operates based on the principles of the functional architecture of the brain, in particular, the cerebral cortex. The course will examine the organization and neural networks, especially of the association cortices (prefrontal Cortex - ventromedial, dorsolateral and orbitofrontal cortex; the cingulate cortex; temporal association cortex; and the inferior and superior parietal lobes). The course will review studies on the development of moral values in children and their neural underpinnings, leading to studies of the functions of the adult brain in moral or ethical decision-making. Topics such as the neural basis of resolving the "Trolley Problem", neuroeconomics, altruism, poverty, forgiveness, compassion will provide the basis for this discussion. We will evaluate from a neuroscience perspective questions such as determinism and free will, and the sense of "self", which ideas have played a significant role in ethical theories. Based on this body of knowledge, we will look at emerging ethical issues arising from technological developments that allow for manipulating the normal and diseased brain. A variety of questions will be examined, among them - brain imaging and privacy, enhancement of normal brain function through chemical, electrical and electromagnetic stimulation, implanted neural interfaces, restoring brain damage, neuroscience and the law.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: NSM NS&B
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: [NS&B225 or PSYC225] OR [NS&B213 or BIOL213 or PSYC240]
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (NS&B)(SISP)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on MAY-27-2022
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