AJOB Neuroscience.

The Applicability of Psychological and Moral Distinctions in an Emerging Neuroscientific Framework

In Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man, Sellars ([1963] 1991) argues that the conceptual framework of persons, what we might call commonsense psychology, should be joined to, and not merely reconciled with, science. This joining would be achieved by viewing science in general, and scientific psychology in particular, not as an “alien appendage to the world in which we live in,” but as something we can relate to our world and use to further our purposes. Instead of thinking of science as a usurper of our social and psychological conceptions of persons, we should think of it as providing us with the opportunity to talk about both social and psychological dimensions of individuals in scientific terms. The two target articles in this issue tackle different topics, but both are attempts to join the emerging neuroscientific image with our everyday conception of persons. Darby, Edersheim, and Price attempt to establish a compatibilist view of free will, and then use that position to display a new framework that could be used to determine when individuals with behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) can be considered morally responsible for their actions. Elsey and Kindt discuss new ways of modifying traumatic memories at the reconsolidation phase, that is, at the point of recall, and assess whether the therapeutic application of memory alteration is ethically permissible and even justified for individuals with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both of the articles also display some of the difficulties in attempting to combine neuroscience with our commonsense psychology […]

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Volume 7, Issue 4
December 2016