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Cesagen response to Nuffield Council on bioethics consultation on novel neurotechnologies: intervening in the brain

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Publication date04/2012
PublisherLancaster University
Number of pages23
VolumePrepared on behalf of Cesagen.
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In what follows, we do not answer every question [by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics). We first proceed with our comments, referring to the numbered questions as appropriate. Thereafter, we give a case study from recent studies within Cesagen to illustrate more general insights for public policy. Case study 1 illustrates some of the complications that arise in public consultation about human enhancement, in particular, with reference to idealistic perceptions which are strongly influenced by long-term popular imaginations about the future of humans and their societies. As we said in a response to a previous consultation, our position is that attention needs to be paid to how the technologies and the associated issues are framed – ethically, politically, scientifically, and by whom. This includes how a given technology is itself described (typically well before it actually exists, if it comes to do so); the claims made for its purported benefits; how stakeholders are conceptualised; how social-cultural aspects will evolve. Such framing is not exclusively a scientific and technological matter but involves cultural and social imaginations as well as artistic ones.