Bioethics Blogs

Bioethics Deliberation and Education in Gray Matters

In last week’s continuation of our “Deliberation and Education” series, we discussed the role of deliberation and education in the recommendations issued by the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (Bioethics Commission) in its sixth report: Anticipate and Communicate. This week’s post will examine deliberation and education in the Bioethics Commission’s Gray Matters reports.

As part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative announced in April 2013, President Obama asked the Bioethics Commission to review the ethical issues associated with the conduct and application of neuroscience research advances. Gray Matters is a two volume Commission report on neuroscience and ethics.

In Gray Matters: Integrative Approaches for Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 1), released in May 2014, the Bioethics Commission focused on the importance of integrating ethics and neuroscience early and explicitly throughout the research endeavor, and called for funding for ethics. In Gray Matters: Topics at the Intersection of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society (Gray Matters, Vol. 2), released in March 2015, the Commission focused its analysis on three particularly controversial topics that illustrate the ethical tensions and societal implications of advancing neuroscience and technology.

In Gray Matters, Vol. 1, the Bioethics Commission made four recommendations focused on integrating ethics and neuroscience research. In its third recommendation, the Commission directly recommended education as a part of this integration:

Government agencies and other research funders should initiate and support research that develops innovative models and evaluates existing and new models for integrating ethics and science through education at all levels.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.