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A four-part working bibliography of neuroethics: Part 4 - Ethical issues in clinical and social applications of neuroscience



Background As a discipline, neuroethics addresses a range of questions and issues generated by basic neuroscientific research (inclusive of studies of putative neurobiological processes involved in moral and ethical cognition and behavior), and its use and meanings in the clinical and social spheres. Here, we present Part 4 of a four-part bibliography of the neuroethics literature focusing on clinical and social applications of neuroscience, to include: the treatment-enhancement discourse; issues arising in neurology, psychiatry, and pain care; neuroethics education and training; neuroethics and the law; neuroethics and policy and political issues; international neuroethics; and discourses addressing "trans-" and "post-" humanity. Methods To complete a systematic survey of the literature, 19 databases and 4 individual open-access journals were employed. Searches were conducted using the indexing language of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). A Python code was used to eliminate duplications in the final bibliography. Results When taken with Parts 1-3, this bibliography aims to provide a listing of international peerreviewed papers, books, and book chapters published from 2002 through 2016. While seeking to be as comprehensive as possible, it may be that some works were inadvertently and unintentionally not included. We therefore invite commentary from the field to afford completeness and contribute to this bibliography as a participatory work-in-progress.
E D I T O R I A L Open Access
A four-part working bibliography of
neuroethics: Part 4 - Ethical issues in clinical
and social applications of neuroscience
Kira Becker
, John R. Shook
, Martina Darragh
and James Giordano
Background: As a discipline, neuroethics addresses a range of questions and issues generated by basic
neuroscientific research (inclusive of studies of putative neurobiological processes involved in moral and ethical
cognition and behavior), and its use and meanings in the clinical and social spheres. Here, we present Part 4 of a
four-part bibliography of the neuroethics literature focusing on clinical and social applications of neuroscience, to
include: the treatment-enhancement discourse; issues arising in neurology, psychiatry, and pain care; neuroethics
education and training; neuroethics and the law; neuroethics and policy and political issues; international
neuroethics; and discourses addressing "trans-" and "post-" humanity.
Methods: To complete a systematic survey of the literature, 19 databases and 4 individual open-access journals
were employed. Searches were conducted using the indexing language of the U.S. National Library of Medicine
(NLM). A Python code was used to eliminate duplications in the final bibliography.
Results: When taken with Parts 1-3, this bibliography aims to provide a listing of international peerreviewed papers,
books, and book chapters published from 2002 through 2016. While seeking to be as comprehensive as possible, it
may be that some works were inadvertently and unintentionally not included. We therefore invite commentary
from the field to afford completeness and contribute to this bibliography as a participatory work-in-progress.
Keywords: Neuroethics, Neuroscience, Neurology, Psychiatry, Bibliography
In A Theory of Justice, philosopher John Rawls proposed
that the ethico-legal structure of society is based those ways
that constructs of rightness or wrongness are applied to
any situation [1]. The citations in this fourth part of a bibli-
ography of neuroethics reflect works that focus upon the
social aspects of research and clinical advances in the brain
sciences. To be sure, neuroscience is not confined to the la-
boratory, as the demand for, and concomitant concerns
about bench-to-bedsidetranslation are increasing. Ques-
tions about the use of neuroscientific approaches to define
normality; the meaning and relevance of what constitutes
(and who receives) treatment or enhancement; the ability
and validity of using neuroimaging to depict consciousness;
and the trajectory of human biology and society, each and
all arise from the interfluence of neuroscientific advance-
ment and social expectation(s) and anxieties. Addressing
these questions is, and will not be, simple or easy. As Illes
et al. have noted, “…frontier technology that is able to
touch on our personhood, especially in bioscience and in-
formation science, is shaping our future[2].
The direction of brain science can, and arguably should
be guided by neuroethics. The neuroethics literature “…
seeks to give neuroscience what bioethics and the ethical,
legal and social implication (ELSI) programs provided for
the human genome project: a platform for scientists,
lawyers, philosophers, sociologists, other scholars and the
general public to interact and discuss the future of neuro-
science[3]. In this way, the literature and this bibliog-
raphy provide a view to the discourse to date, and the
foundation upon which to build engagement at present
and in the future. To be sure, this future will ever more
involve, and affect the world stage, as brain science be-
comes an increasingly international enterprise. Viewed
* Correspondence:
Neuroethics Studies Program, Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and
Department of Neurology, Georgetown University Medical Center,
Washingotn, DC, USA
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver
( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Becker et al. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine (2017) 12:1
DOI 10.1186/s13010-017-0043-y
from an international vantage point, neuroethics has the
potential to go beyond “…absolutism, cultural essential-
isms, and unrealistic ethical philosophies, [and] arrives at
a small set of principles about proper human flourishing
that are more culturally inclusive and cosmopolitan in
spiritempowerment, non-obsolescence, self-creativity,
and citizenship[4].
The inclusion of citizenshipis important, because both
professionals (in the natural, physical, life and social
sciences, medicine, and government) and various publics
“…must have the power defined by quality of know-
ledge and ease of access to help shape that future.It
is in this spirit that a consistent goal of this bibliographic
series is to invite ongoing professional and public partici-
pation in contributing to its further development, and in
so doing bolstering the informational groundwork upon
which the future of neuroscience can stand.
The following bibliographies provide neuroethics
literature on the clinical and social implications of
neurological advances from 20022016. The bibliographies
cover a range of topics, to include:
I. Health care
a) issues in/of the treatment-enhancement discourse
b) ethical issues in neurology (including neuro-
c) ethical issues in psychiatry (including gender and
LGBT issues)
d) ethical issues in anesthesiology/pain medicine
(including addiction)
II. Neuroethics education/training
III. Neuroethics and law
IV. Neuroethics and policy and politics
V. International neuroethics
VI.Trans/posthuman issues
Methods for systematically searching relevant litera-
ture devoted to neuroethics are identical to those
utilized in the first 3 parts of this bibliography [57].
The United States National Library of Medicines
(NLM) indexing languageMeSH (Medical Subject
Headings)was used to generate the basic search strat-
egy for each topic. MeSH contains ethics-related terms
developed for BIOETHICSLINE, a specialty database
devoted to bioethical issues produced for NLM by the
Kennedy Institute of Ethics from 19752000.
Citations were retrieved from the following databases:
1) U.S. National Library of Medicines PubMed and
NLM Catalog
2) Academic Search Premier
3) Proquest Research Library
5) WorldCat
6) Philosophers Index
7) Embase
9) Web of Knowledge/Web of Science
10) Digital Public Library of America
11) Directory of Open Access Journals
12) Hathi Trust Digital Library
13)Internet Archive
15) Neuroethics-Wikiography
These listings of citations are participatory bibliog-
raphiesin that readers are encouraged to submit
additional cites via the Commentssection of this
document or by contacting the bibliographic manager
Health Care
Issues in/of the treatment-enhancement discourse
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Asscher EC, Schermer M: Wish-fulfilling medicine
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Attiah MA, Farah MJ: Minds, motherboards, and
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BCI technologies.Front Syst Neurosci 2014, 8:86.
Bamford R: Unrequited: neurochemical enhancement
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Benanti P: Neuroenhancement in young people: cul-
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Beyer C, Staunton C, Moodley K: The implications of
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Giordano J, Schatman ME, Benedikter R: Pain care
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in intersection.Pract Pain Manag 2008, 8(7):65-69.
Giordano J, Newman R, Boswell MV: Pain medicine,
biotechnology and market effects: tools, tekne and
moral responsibility.Ethics Biol Eng Med 2010, 1(2):133-
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epistemic, ethical and practical issues.Pain Physician
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Giordano J: Pain research: can paradigmatic expan-
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ited: reframing Bruers neuroeducation argument for
modern science of learning practitioners.Front Psy-
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