Thursday, December 17, 2015

Published in Slate: When Phrenology Was Used in Court: Lessons in Neuroscience from the 1834 Trial of a 9-year-old.

The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions' Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroethics, Geoff Holtzman,  has published a piece in Slate Magazine on the history of phrenology and its relationship to the use of neuroscience in courts of law.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Call for Abstracts: Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications?

Call for Abstracts: Does Neuroscience Have Normative Implications? 

Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago: April 15-16, 2016
Deadline for Submissions: February 1, 2016

Neuroscience seeks to understand the biological systems that guide human behavior and cognition. Normative ethics, on the other hand, seeks to understand the system of abstract moral principles dictating how people ought to behave. Can neuroscience provide insight into normative ethics, and help us better understand which human actions and judgments are right, and which are wrong?

Researchers across disciplines who are interested in this question are invited to participate in a symposium on April 15-16 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Prospective presenters are asked to submit abstracts of 200-400 words by February 1st, 2016 to; authors will receive selection decisions by February 28th. Invited speakers include James Giordano (Georgetown University) and Kurt Gray (University of North Carolina).

Presentations should take either 20 or 30 minutes and may address the question directly, or may address the question indirectly, by proposing research programs or discussing neuroscientific research thought to have normative implications. Authors skeptical of the normative significance of neuroscience are encouraged to discuss the scope and limits of neuroscience as it bears on non-normative moral and philosophical questions. Metatheoretical arguments of all kinds—either for or against the view that neuroscience has normative implications—are welcome.

One graduate student will be awarded $500 in travel funds on the basis of his or her submitted abstract. The symposium is funded by the Swiss Cogito Foundation, and organized by the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology as part of the project Neuroethics: On the Interplay Between Neuroscience and Ethics. When submitting a proposal, please indicate beneath its title whether you would be interested in developing your presentation into a paper to be published in a collected volume edited by the symposium organizers (“For Collected Volume”) or not (“Not For Collected Volume”).

Questions regarding the symposium should be directed to symposium organizer Geoff Holtzman at