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SRT Neurobiology, Freewill and Moral Responsibility May 2012

image Published: Mar 31, 2013

The SRT Project ran a working group to look at the ethics of neurobiology during 2010 and 2011. They group produced a report 'Neurobiology, Free Will and Moral Responsibilty' for presentation to the General Assembly in May 2012.

View the full report

A number of members of the working group participated in conferences organised at the Institute of Advanced Studies (Strathclyde University) through SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network - a Platform for Scientific Excellence) between May and August 2010.

These have been very useful in addressing some of the ethical problems which already exist, particularly around issues in brain imaging. However, much work remains to be done in areas such as where consciousness, morality and free will come from.

Areas of interest to the report include:

•           Metaphysical questions and the need to challenge materialism

•           Who has the right to know?

•           What makes us more than mere machines?

The need to challenge scientific reductionism and to distinguish between science and “scientism” has been emphasised, as well as giving the church an opportunity to evaluate many exciting areas of research.

The group held a conference on Saturday 11 June 2011 entitled:

“It wasn’t me it was my Neurons?”

Speakers included:

Prof Barry Smith:              Director, Institute of Philosophy, University of London

Prof Joanna Wardlaw:    Professor, Applied Neuroimaging, University of Edinburgh

Dr Paul Knox:                    Reader, Division of Orthoptics, University of Liverpool

Prof Ray Tallis:                 Professor, Geriatric Medicine, University of Manchester

Dr Julian Kiverstein:       Teaching Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of

                                             Edinburgh                             

Dr Fionnbar Lenihan:      Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Orchard Unit, Edinburgh

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