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Hopes and Challenges of Transnational Neuroethics

Thu, August 30, 9:00 to 10:30am, ICC, E3.10


Neuroethics is a new research field labelled in 2002. It is a highly interdisciplinary research field, pursuing many objectives, from the ethics of neuroscience to the neuroscience of ethics. At the global level, the field is growing in terms of number of publications, scholars, scientific societies, dedicated research groups, and so on. While neuroethics was launched mainly from the US and Canada, there was from the very beginning a push to internationalization. However, the diffusion of neuroethics around the globe has not been a smooth and linear process. In this presentation, I study the international dynamics of neuroethics as a conscious strategy of actors and as an intrinsic impetus of the field. I will consider two examples in detail, comparing the reception of neuroethics in Japan and in France. Neuroethics stepped rather early in Japan, but with a mitigate success in the long run. By contrast, there has been almost no proponents of neuroethics in France. The goal of this study and its comparative aspect is to discuss the emergence and the legitimacy of a new field of research. What is the function of internationalization in the legitimization of the field? How the international strategy can be articulated with a nationalization or localization of issues? The very definition of neuroethics—which is a recurring concern of the main actors of the field—is eventually at stake here: Neuroethics is also defined by its context and how it is used by actors in various institutional frameworks.