Saturday, February 09, 2013

Feb 9 - Prof. James Giordano PhD - Predictive Neuroscience: Facts, Fictions, and Fears of Scanning Brains and Reading Minds

Saturday, February 9, 2013, 1:30 pm
National Science Foundation
Room 110
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA [map]

In this lecture, neuroscientist and neuroethicist Professor James Giordano PhD, addresses the provocative current - and near future - capacities and limitations of neuroscience, and argues for analyses and guidelines to establish how to engage brain research in ways that are scientifically and technically rigorous, and ethically and legally sound.

Neuroscience is increasingly viewed as having potential to identify predispositions to types of cognition, emotion and behavior.  Could it be employed to allow preemptive interventions to deter the commission of crimes? For sure, this has overtones of the science fictional film Minority Report. But as distasteful as this seems at face value, the recent shootings in Connecticut, Oslo, Phoenix, and Columbine, and instances of international terrorism have prompted calls to use neuroscience to “do something” to ensure that such events do not happen again.

A crucial question is, how to maximize the benefit of the tools we possess, while not over-stepping the boundaries of science or corrupting ethico-legal probity?  Just because we may not currently have the neuroscientific capabilities to predict thoughts or behaviors doesn’t mean we’re not on a path toward doing so - or at least trying. Therefore, it’s important to understand exactly “where we really are” and estimate the validity and value of both our current position and the destinations we seek. We must be aware of agendas to employ neuroscience in a variety of ways, and must be prepared to confront these realities.

James Giordano, a neuroscientist and neuroethicist, is Professor of Integrative Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry, and Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program in the Center for Clinical Bioethics, at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA, and Gryphon Fellow on the faculty of the Human Science Center of Ludwig-Maximilians Universit├Ąt, Munich, Germany.

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members.
Refreshments and socializing after the talk.