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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Abstract Neuroethics is a new sub‐discipline of philosophy, with two broad focuses. The first, which has come to be called the ethics of neuroscience, concerns the assessment of ethical issues arising from neuroscience, its practice and its applications; the second, which has come to be called the neuroscience of ethics, concerns the ways in which the sciences of the mind can illuminate longstanding issues within philosophy. Especially in its guise as the neuroscience of ethics, neuroethics cannot sharply be distinguished from the naturalistic trend in philosophy which attempts to bring to bear data to the resolution of philosophical problems. It is distinctive only inasmuch as it is motivated by practical, and especially moral, concerns to a greater degree than empirical philosophy more generally. This article illustrates the practice and typical concerns of neuroethics with two case studies, one from each of its branches. The ethics of neuroscience is illustrated with the issue of cognitive enhancement, and the neuroscience of ethics is illustrated by discussion of free will. With regard to both issues, neuroethicists hope to advance beyond intuition and armchair argument by careful attention to the data emerging from the cognitive sciences. WIREs Cogn Sci 2012, 3:143–151. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1157 This article is categorized under: Philosophy > Action

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