The Transformation of Bioethical Assessment by Neuroscience: Building a Research Bibliography
: 6-10 weeks, up to 20 hours/week
Number of Positions
: Hourly Princeton student RA rate, based on actual hours worked
: Arbel Griner
, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Global Health Program
: Since the proclamation of the Decade of the Brain in the 1990s, neuroscientific scholarship has deeply transformed investigative fields ranging from the life sciences to economics and to philosophy. In terms of its implications to biomedicine, the neurosciences have reshaped technology and policy, and recast the very understanding of both the clinical subject and practices, setting new parameters as well as challenges for bioethical assessment. The student will participate in ongoing research about the changes that take place in bioethical reasoning under the auspices of the rise of neurosciences. The summer project will look into bioethical work that understands moral reasoning and decision making to stem from biochemical processes taking place in the brain. It will then ask how such understanding recasts health and illness phenomena, as well as how far from the concrete challenges posed by clinical practices and patient needs neuroethical assessment might land. The project focuses on the history of the neuroscience of ethics (or of moral reasoning) and aims to put together a bibliography that delves into the theoretical references, critical events, academic inceptions and even turf wars that shape and drive contemporary bioethical reflection and normative recommendations.
Research Assistant Responsibilities
: The RA will help update the bibliography on the topic and indicate unconsidered perspectives on the matter. Basic tasks will include extracting relevant articles about the contributions of neurosciences to practical ethics in English-language major depositories such as PubMed, as well as bioethics, neuroethics and philosophical journals. Aside from collecting and annotating an appropriate number of articles per week, the student will be expected to identify his or her own line of research interest within the larger field of the history of the transformation of clinical practices by neurosciences, and participate in weekly-held discussions.
: Previous experience with bibliographical research and information management, and familiarity with the basic biomedical research literature on PubMed is preferred but not required.