[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the Critical Neuroscience initiative raised the question whether the perceived normative significance of neuroscience is justified by the discipline's actual possibilities. In this paper I show how brain research was assigned the ultimate political, social, and moral authority by some leading researchers who suggested that neuroscientists should change their research priorities, promising solutions to social challenges in order to increase research funds. Discussing the two examples of cognitive enhancement and the neuroscience of (im)moral behavior I argue that there is indeed a gap between promises and expectations on the one hand and knowledge and applications on the other. However it would be premature to generalize this to the neurosciences at large, whose knowledge-producing, innovative, and economic potentials have just recently been confirmed by political and scientific decision-makers with the financial support for the Human Brain Project and the BRAIN Initiative. Finally, I discuss two explanations for the analyzed communication patterns and argue why Critical Neuroscience is necessary, but not sufficient. A more general Critical Science movement is required to improve the scientific incentive system.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:336. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00336 · 2.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The article explores some of the issues that have arisen in the discourse on pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement (PCE), that is, the use of stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate, amphetamine and modafinil by healthy individuals of various populations with the aim of improving cognitive performance. Specifically, we explore the presumed sizes of existing PCE user populations and the policy actions that have been proposed regarding the trend of PCE. We begin with an introductory examination of the academic stances and philosophical issues involved in defining PCE. We then focus on an examination of the population sizes of presumed current PCE users that have been listed in the academic literature on PCE, on presuppositions, which have been problematized by some authors as based on anecdotal or misinterpreted survey data. We follow this with an empirical examination of a potential PCE user population in a national context (students at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia). We then proceed to examine the regulatory options proposed in the academic literature to address PCE, finally comparing them with an empirical overview of the policy recommendations on PCE produced in the multinational context of several national ethics advisory bodies (EABs) in Europe. Our main conclusion is that there is still little debate among the national EABs on what type of public policy responses, if any, are needed to address PCE in European countries, and that the issues they do address are similar to those discussed and proposed in the academic articles on PCE.
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