PhD Scientific Days 2024

Budapest, 9-10 July 2024

Mental Health Sciences I.

The Sociological and Ethical Implications of the Development of the Neurosciences


1: Semmelweis University, Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences

Text of the abstract

Just as the development of the automobile industry over the last 100 years has changed our lives in terms of connectivity, but also in terms of laws and rules, so the development of neuroscience is expected to have an even greater impact on sociology, as it may change the object of law and the legal system. The advances in neuroscience have profound sociological and ethical implications that extend across various domains of society, including healthcare, education, criminal justice, and personal identity.
This presentation aims to explore the sociological and ethical dimensions within three domains of neuroscience:
1. Brain Imaging (structural and functional)
2. BCIs: Brain-Computer Interfaces (including Neuralink)
3. Brain Enhancement
Furthermore, the research seeks to underscore the importance of adopting a global, holistic, bio-psycho-social approach to understanding the concept of Person. It emphasizes that reducing the notion of Person solely to an organ-centric perspective risks perpetuating genetic determinism, reminiscent of the physiognomy pseudo-science popularized by Lombroso in the 19th century.
This paper draws upon a segment of my dissertation, which is predominantly theoretical in nature. In addition to offering an ethical reflection, it includes a textual analysis of current literature pertinent to the subject matter. This approach provides a comprehensive exploration of the topic, integrating insights from both contemporary scholarship and theoretical frameworks.
The convergence of neuroscience and society raises complex ethical and sociological questions about
the nature of human identity,
the role of memory,
the person as Self in Action,
the sociological concept of Agency,
the legal accountability,
as well as considerations of social justice, equality, and human flourishing.
As neuroscience advances, it is imperative that the ethical and societal implications of such advances are rigorously examined. It is essential to ensure that these developments are consistent with the principles of respect for autonomy, justice and beneficence, thereby safeguarding the integrity and dignity of individuals in society.

This research did not receive any external funding.
Semmelweis University, Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences
Supervisor: Prof. Em. Nagy Endre