The field of neuroethics has been described as an amalgamation of two branches of inquiry: “the neuroscience of ethics” and “the ethics of neuroscience.” The neuroscience of ethics may be described as “a scientific approach to understanding ethical behavior.” The law and ethics of neuroscience is concerned with the legal and ethical principles that should guide brain research and the treatment of neurological disease, as well as the effects that advances in neuroscience have on our social, moral, and philosophical views. This Article is a contribution to the law and ethics of neuroscience.
No longer new or emerging, the burgeoning field of neuroethics has an expanding literature that includes several edited collections, journal symposia, and stand-alone texts. Based on topics as varied as neurodegenerative disease, functional neuroimaging, incidental neuroimaging findings, transcranial magnetic stimulation, functional neurosurgical interventions, and cognitive enhancement, neuroethics has developed alongside its neuroeconomics and neuropolitics counterparts and is followed by triple-disciplinary fields such as law and neuroeconomics. In this Article, I focus on one small part of the field of neuroethics: the confidentiality, privacy, and identity implications of advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
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