Capital Consortium for Neuroscience: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues

Friday, November 13, 2009
4:00 – 6:00 PM

From a Neuroscience of Pain to a Neuroethics of Care

Reflection upon the Congressionally-declared Decade of Pain Control and Research (2000-2010) reveals considerable progress made in unraveling the mechanisms of pain. But, as we look ahead toward an anticipated Decade of the Mind, we must ask how - or if - explanations of brain activity can give rise to a deeper and more complete understanding of pain as symptom, disease, illness and subjective event, and what this knowledge means for the ethical profession and practice of medicine, as well as our moral, legal and social regard for both human and non-human beings that are capable of experiencing pain. An attempt to understand pain prompts further questions about the use (and misuse) of state-of-the-art technology, validity of "scanning brains and reading minds", debate about how much pain should be relieved and whether mitigating pain is a treatment or an enhancement, and the questions arising from confronting (and treating) pain in animals and other non-human beings.

Speaker Information

Prof. James Giordano, PhD
Research Associate, Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, University of Oxford (Oxford, UK)
Director, Center for Neurotechnology Studies
Vice President, Academic Programs Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (Arlington, VA, US)

Prof. James Giordano is Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies and Vice President of all Academic Programs at the Potomac Institute. He is also a Research Associate of the Oxford Centre of Neuroethics, University of Oxford, UK, and Visiting Professor of Neurophilosophy and Neuroethics at Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms’ Universität, Bonn, Germany.

Prof. Giordano is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, Associate Editor for the international journal Neuroethics, neuroscience and ethics editor (and former Deputy Editor-in-Chief) for the journal Pain Physician, ethics and policy section editor of Practical Pain Management, neuroscience editor for the multi-lingual journal Research in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (Forschende Komplmentärmedizin), and Editor-in-Chief of the book series Advances in Neurotechnology: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (published by Taylor-Francis/CRC Press). The author of over 120 publications in neuroscience, pain, neurophilosophy, and neuroethics, his recent books include: Pain: Mind, Meaning, and Medicine (PPM-Publishers’ Press); Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives in Neuroethics (with Bert Gordijn, Cambridge University Press); and Pain Medicine: Philosophy, Ethics and Policy (with Mark Boswell; Linton Atlantic Books).

His ongoing research addresses the role of neuroscience and technology in medicine, social, and national defense applications, and explores the neuroethics of pain, pain care, and implications for the treatment of human and non-human organisms.


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