Why do we think it is worth forming a society at this time? As you know, people interested in neuroethics have been interacting through the occasional meeting or conference symposium, but have not so far participated in any larger scale or more permanent organization. We believe that such an organization is needed to promote the kind of sustained interaction, learning and critical discussion that will strengthen our field. It is also needed to help draw new people into the field, a critical next step for continued progress in the field.
How the society will develop remains to be seen. Indeed, we are hoping for your active participation in the process. However, for the sake of starting somewhere, we created a provisional system of governance, plans for the next two years’ meetings, and the following Mission Statement:
We are an interdisciplinary group of scholars, scientists and clinicians who share an interest in the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience. The late 20th century saw unprecedented progress in the basic sciences of mind and brain and in the treatment of psychiatric and neurologic disorders. Now, in the early 21st century, neuroscience plays an expanding role in human life beyond the research lab and clinic. In classrooms, courtrooms, offices and homes around the world, neuroscience is giving us powerful new tools for achieving our goals and prompting a new understanding of ourselves as social, moral and spiritual beings. The mission of the Neuroethics Society is to promote the development and responsible application of neuroscience through better understanding of its capabilities and its consequences.
Steve Hyman of Harvard has agreed to be our first President. Other information about governance and initial meetings is listed on the society website, neuroethicssociety.org, which should be live any day now!
Seems like the site is already up, and that content is being added continously. The society plans to do sattelite meetings to the 2008 and 2009 Cognitive Neuroscience Society conferences in San Francisco and New York, respectively. Hopefully, they’ll do a meeting in 2006 or 2007. We hope that we’ll be able to join in.