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Archive for February, 2007

AJOB Neuroscience

ajb-71-neuroscience-smallest.jpgThis year, The American Journal of Bioethics will be expanding its publications rate from 6 to 12 annual issues. As part of this increased frequency three issues per year will be dedicated to neuroethics. These issues will be called AJOB Neuroscience, and are edited by the tireless Judy Illes. The inaugural issue has just been published and contains two editorial papers – one by Illes and one by Antonio Damasio – in addition to two target papers with lots of commentary: “The neurobiology of addiction” by Steven Hyman (the first president of The Neuroethics Society); and “Personhood and neuroscience” by Martha Farah and Andrea Heberlein. You can find Illes’ editorial plus a lot of other papers on her website. So, now there is two major outlets for academic neuroethics literature: The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and AJOB Neuroscience. Pretty amazing!

-Martin

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oslo.jpgI’ve just been alerted to the fact that the University of Oslo in Norway will play host to a conference on “Neuroethics and Empirical Moral Psychology” from March 14 to March 16. See more here. It looks pretty interesting (and free of charge). Among the speakers are John Bickle, Shaun Nichols and Stephen Morse. John Bickle is well known as a hardcore reductionist (he makes the Churchlands look like dualists). Stephen Morse has written several papers arguing that neuroscience should have no impact on our conception of legal responsibility. Putting Bickle and Morse in the same room should make for lots of fun!

-Martin

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social-neuroscience.jpgThe new issue (number 3-4, September-December 2006) of Social Neuroscience is a hefty double issue tome dedicated to the topic of Theory of Mind. It contains 20 papers by several of the leaders in the field, and is edited by Rebecca Saxe and Simon Baron-Cohen. One of the reasons for the enduring interest in ToM is that, in contrast to other capacities for social reasoning – for instance, the ability to represent facial features or the intentional motion of conspecifics’ bodies – the ability to reason about the contents of mental states may be an unique human ability (see, e.g., [1]). Recently, through fMRI research, ToM has been linked to a specific part of the human brain: the right temporo-parietal junction.

Reference

[1] Saxe, R. (2006): Uniquely human social cognition. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 16: 1-5.

-Martin

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