Bioethics Blogs

Reflections on the Neuroethics Network Conference in Paris

By Thomasine Kushner 

*Editor’s Note: Tomi Kushner is co-chair with Yves Agid for the Annual Neuroethics Network Conference in France. She had these reflections to offer.  The remainder of the posts this week will feature student reflections on various sessions in the conference. Enjoy!
The 3rd Neuroethics Network conference took place, June 29-July 1, 2016 hosted by ICM (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière), Paris’ renowned Brain and Spine Institute. This annual conference brings together researchers, scholars and clinicians in neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, and law to foster dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration with regard to the ethical issues generated by advances in brain science.

A theme of the Neuroethics Network is that in order for neuroethics to be effective on an increasingly broader, more pluralized world stage, the field needs to “go global.” Contributing to a more international vision this year were delegates from: Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Serbia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and USA.

Echoing the diversity of the geographical representation was the wide variety of topics addressed, including: “Is the Brain Anything More than a 20-Watt Supercomputer?” (Yves Agid, ICM ,France), “Mosaics in Neuroethics: Piecing Together the Capacity Puzzle” (Joseph Fins, Weill Cornell Medical College, USA ) “How Smart Do We Want Machines to Be?” (John Harris, University of Manchester, United Kingdom) “Nonreductive Approaches to Human Neuroscience and the Care of Severe Brain Injury” (Grant Gillett, Otago Bioethics Centre, New Zealand).
A highlight of the meeting was the traditional “Cinema du Cerveau,” which shows a commercial film, followed by a panel commenting on the neuroethics dilemmas raised.

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.