Rethinking neuroethics in the light of the extended mind thesis

Neil Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The extended mind thesis is the claim that mental states extend beyond the skulls of the agents whose states they are. This seemingly obscure and bizarre claim has far-reaching implications for neuroethics, I argue. In the first half of this article, I sketch the extended mind thesis and defend it against criticisms. In the second half, I turn to its neuroethical implications. I argue that the extended mind thesis entails the falsity of the claim that interventions into the brain are especially problematic just because they are internal interventions, but that many objections to such interventions rely, at least in part, on this claim. Further, I argue that the thesis alters the focus of neuroethics, away from the question of whether we ought to allow interventions into the mind, and toward the question of which interventions we ought to allow and under what conditions. The extended mind thesis dramatically expands the scope of neuroethics: because interventions into the environment of agents can count as interventions into their minds, decisions concerning such interventions become questions for neuroethics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Bioethics
Volume7
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Authenticity
  • Internalism
  • Neuroethics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Psychopharmaceuticals
  • Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Rethinking neuroethics in the light of the extended mind thesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this