Capital Consortium for Neuroscience: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues

Friday, October 30, 2009
4:00 – 6:00 PM

The Cyborg: A Core Concept for Answers and Questions of Neurotechnology


Neuroethics can – and arguably should - be used to define and address the moral questions concerning the current and future use or misuses of neurotechnology. As defined by Clyne and Kline, the cybernetic organism, or “cyborg” has evolved numerous meanings –from that of Sci-Fi literature, to the reality posed by both our scientific progress, and an increasing reliance upon, and devotion to such technology. Thus, the cyborg stands as a critical example for hopes and fears, as well as answers and enduring questions that arise in, and from neurotechnology. To address these emotions and issues, this lecture will present trans-humanist /post-humanist scenarios, in which the cyborg might be seen as a model of both techno-reductionism (the human as machine) and of enhancing human flourishing through the use of machines. In both scenarios, the cyborg is an emergent state of an evolving, complex biotechnologic-human system. So defined, the cyborg raises numerous moral and ethical questions and problems, that may prompt us to ask not only “…how much human-technologic fusion is too much?”, but also “why?” In this light, a draft of neuroethics is proposed that is based upon a commitment to personal morality in the use of technology. It will shown such a system of neuroethics does not attempt to develop a set of absolute rules that answer every kind of problem, but rather affords a set of tools and instruments to enable effective and morally sound governance of neurotechnology.

Speaker Information

Prof. Paolo Benanti, PhD
Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rome (Italy) and Istituto Teologico di Assisi, Aggregato alla Pontifica Università Lateranense, Assisi (PG, italy)

Paolo Benanti PhD is Assistant Professor of Moral Theology, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rome (Italy) and Istituto Teologico di Assisi, Aggregato alla Pontifica Università Lateranense, Assisi (Italy). As well, he is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC. The author of several publications addressing the nature and quality of life and living being, his most recent book is: Living the dying. Points for Biomedical Anthropology (Vivere il morire. Spunti per l'antropologia biomedica) published by Cittadella Editrice 2009. Prof. Benanti is Associate Editor of the journal Analecta and works with La Voce and other Italian and international scientific and bioethical journals.



For additional information, tentative schedule, media access, or to register, please contact Guillermo Palchik at


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