Insiders and Outsiders: Lessons for Neuroethics from the History of Bioethics.
- Author(s): Chiong, Winston
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21507740.2020.1778118
Recent disputes over the NIH Neuroethics Roadmap have revealed underlying tensions between neuroethics and the broader neuroscience community. These controversies should spur neuroethicists to more clearly articulate an oft-cited ideal of "integrating" neuroethics in neuroscience. In this, it is useful to consider the integration of bioethics in medical practice as both historical precedent and context for integration in neuroethics. Bioethics began as interdisciplinary scholars joined biomedical institutions to serve on newly-created IRBs and hospital ethics committees. These early bioethicists identified as outsiders and their presence was initially resisted by some in the medical establishment, but over time they became integrated into the very institutions that many had originally come to critique. This work has transformed medical practice, but also required compromises and intellectual costs. Also, the successful integration of bioethics relied in part on structural features of postwar medicine with no clear analogue in contemporary neuroscience; for neuroethics, imaginative new approaches will also be needed. While neuroethics to date has focused somewhat narrowly on questions in neurotechnology, I argue that successful integration in neuroethics will likely require a broader vision, encompassing the clinical neurosciences as well as questions at the interface of neuroscience and society.