December 3, 2010

James Giordano: "Neuroscience, Neurotechnology, and Strivings to Flourish" [CFI conference on biomedical enhancement]

James Giordano now talking about Neuroscience, Neurotechnology, and Strivings to Flourish.

One of his primary messages is that we need to be wary of anything with the prefix "neuro".

Neurotechnologic imperative: "...if you can build it, do so..."

Human flourishing prompts the questions:

  1. What is it to flourish?
  2. What is the "good"?
  3. How is/should it be achieved? Means, ends, limits...
Contextualized to bio-psychosocial nature of our species. 

  • Maximizing function
  • Does this mean maintaining or optimizing?
  • Treatment or enhancement?
  • Objectivity and/or subjectively?
  • Consideration of gain vs. loss?
  • Given bio-psychsocial nature, on what level(s)?
Janusian face of neuroscience: Utopian aspirations vs. dystopian anxieties

Pros and cons: A natural need to know and intervene inherent to human flourishing; inquiry and action is both right and good; partial knowledge in areas of profound impact effect broad and unforeseen consequences; there are intellectual and moral limits on inquiry. 

We should not retard progress, need to mitigate non-contemplative advancement. 

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