The Neuroscience of Morality and Consciousness:
A "Bioethics Brief" scope note. The history of neuroethics is filled with dramatic stories. Brain injuries sustained by patients such as Phineas Gage (Damasio 1994), “Monsieur Leborgne”/”Patient Tan” (Damasio and Geschwind 1984), H.R. (Scoville and Milner 1957), and EVR (Eslinger and Damasio 1985) provided clues to the dynamic relationship between the structure of our minds and consciousness. Their stories evoked discussions of classic questions going back to Hippocrates about the nature of free will, the possibilities for personhood, and the origin of conscience. (Churchland 2007) When developments in neurotechnology enabled investigations of these issues to bypass the limits of individual cases, the conversation moved beyond the musings of philosophers and the speculations of scientists to interdisciplinary investigations into the neural mechanisms of morality and consciousness.
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