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NeuroethicsDefining the issues in theory, practice, and policy$
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Judy Illes

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567219.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2022

Moral decision-making and the brain

Moral decision-making and the brain

(p.3) Chapter 1 Moral decision-making and the brain

Patricia Smith Churchland

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the question of whether we can have thought without biology. Developments in neuroscience and cognitive science have made it possible to formulate a rough hypothesis concerning the neurobiology of ‘in-control’ brains, and the respects in which it differs from that of ‘not-in-control’ brains. This hypothesis must be framed in terms of a parameter space, the dimensions of which are specified in terms of neurobiological properties, especially of the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system, and the brainstem. As a consequence, ‘in control’ can be characterized neurobiologically as a volume within that parameter space. This provides a framework for further research on planning, decision-making, evaluation, and choice in nervous systems.

Keywords:   decisions, accountability, responsibility, neurobiology, thought

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