2012 Bioethics Conference: The Moral Brain

This is a two part conference with the NYU Center for Bioethics, Duke Kenan Institute for Ethics, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.



Conference Program

Part I: "The Significance of Neuroscience for Morality: Lessons from a Decade of Research"
Friday, March 30 – Saturday, March 31, 2012
Organized by the NYU Center for Bioethics in collaboration with the Duke Kenan Institute for Ethics with generous support from the NYU Graduate School for Arts & Science and the NYU Humanities Initiative.

It has been a decade since the first brain imaging studies of moral judgments by Joshua Greene, Jorge Moll and their colleagues were reported. During this time, there have been rich philosophical and scientific discussions regarding a) whether brain imaging data can tell us anything about moral judgments, and b) what they do tell us if they can tell us something about moral judgments.  In this workshop, we aim to bring leading philosophers, neuroscientists, and psychologists in this area together to examine these issues and to explore the future directions of this research.


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FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012

1:00-1:15 PM Welcome Remarks:
Thomas Carew, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, New York University




1:15-2:15 PM Session I: “Beyond Point-And-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics”
Session Chair: Joseph LeDoux, University Professor; Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science; Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, Center for Neural Science and Psychology, New York University
Speaker: Joshua Greene, John & Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Harvard University




2:15-3:15 PM Session II: “Emotion Versus Cognition in Moral Decision-Making: A Dubious Dichotomy”
Session Chair: Michael Strevens, Professor of Philosophy, New York University
Speaker: James Woodward, Distinguished Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh




3:45-4:45 PM Session III: “When the Mind Matters for Morality”
Session Chair: William Ruddick, Professor of Philosophy, New York University; Former Director of the Center for Bioethics.
Speaker: Liane Young, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Boston College




4:45-5:45 PM Session IV: “The Representation of Reinforcement Values in Care-Based Morality & the Implications of Dysfunction for the Development of Psychopathic Traits”
Session Chair: Lila Davachi, Associate Professor of Psychology, New York University
Speaker: James Blair, Chief of the Unit on Affective Cognitive Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH




5:45-6:45 PM Session V: “Is There One Moral Brain”
Session Chair: Don Garrett, Chair of Department and Professor of Philosophy, New York University
Speaker: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chauncey Stillman Professor in Practical Ethics, Department of Philosophy & Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University





SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2012

8:30-9:30 AM Session VI: “The Moral Life of Babies and Why It Matters”
Session Chair: Joshua Knobe, Associate Professor, Program in Cognitive Science & Department of Philosophy, Yale University
Speaker: Paul Bloom, Brooks & Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology & Cognitive Science, Yale University




9:30-10:30 AM Session VII: “Feeling Good About Feeling Bad: Moral Aliefs and Moral Dilemmas”
Session Chair: Jesse Prinz, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York
Speaker: Tamar Gendler, Professor of Philosophy, Yale University




10:45-11:45 AM Session VIII: “Morphing Morals: Neurochemical Modulation of Moral Judgment and Behavior”
Session Chair: Andre Fenton, Professor of Neural Science, Center for Neural Science, New York University
Speaker: Molly Crockett, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Social & Neural Systems Research, Department of Economics, University of Zurich




11:45-12:45 PM Session IX: “Are Intuitions Heuristics?”
Session Chair: Laura Franklin-Hall, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, New York University
Speaker: S. Matthew Liao, Director of Graduate Studies, Center for Bioethics; Clinical Associate Professor of Bioethics; Affiliated Professor of Philosophy, New York University




2:00-3:00 PM Session X: “Is, Ought, and the Brain”
Session Chair: Victoria McGeer, Research Scholar, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University
Speaker: Guy Kahane, Deputy Director & Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford




3:00-4:00 PM Session XI: “A More Groupish Morality Needs a More Groupish Brain”
Session Chair: Steven Lukes, Professor of Sociology, New York University
Speaker: Jonathan Haidt, Professor in the Social Psychology, University of Virginia; Henry Kaufman Visiting Professor, Leonard Stern School of Business, New York University




Part II: "Can Moral Behavior be Improved or Enhanced?"
Saturday, March 31, 2012 – Sunday, April 1, 2012
Organized by the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics and the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies with generous support from the Society of Philosophers in America and the Potomac Institute.

Should the research on moral psychology be interpreted as suggesting new approaches for improving, or perhaps enhancing, moral intuitions, attitudes, judgments, and behavior or for reforming social institutions? Can we create more effective educational tools for improving moral development? For the last century psychiatry has attempted to medicalize moral failings - lack of self-control, addiction, anger, impatience, fear.  But what of engineering ourselves to higher states of virtue? If the enhancement of morality is possible, which virtues or cognitive capabilities will it be safe to enhance and how? What might be the unanticipated side effects of attempts to enhance moral behavior?

SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2012 (cont.)

4:30-6:30 PM Panel Discussion:
Moderator:
Wendell Wallach, Scholar & Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University

Panelists:
Paul Bloom, Brooks & Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology & Cognitive Science, Yale University
Molly Crockett, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Social & Neural Systems Research, Department of Economics, University of Zurich
Joshua Greene, John & Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Joshua Knobe, Associate Professor, Program in Cognitive Science & Department of Philosophy, Yale University
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Chauncey Stillman Professor in Practical Ethics, Department of Philosophy & Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University



6:45-7:45 PM Closing Session: “On the Permissibility of Creating Enhanced People”
Session Chair: James J. Hughes, Executive Director, Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies; Director, Institutional Research & Planning, Trinity College
Speaker: Ingmar Persson, Professor of Practical Philosophy, University of Gothenburg; Research Fellow, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford





SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012

9:00-10:30 AM Session I: General
Session Chair: S. Matthew Liao, Director of Graduate Studies, Center for Bioethics; Clinical Associate Professor of Bioethics; Affiliated Professor of Philosophy, New York University

“The Benefits and Risks of Virtue Engineering”
Speaker: James Hughes, Executive Director, Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies; Director, Institutional Research & Planning, Trinity College

“Perhaps It Would Help to Distinguish Between "Engineering" and "Cultivating" Virtue”
Speaker: Erik Parens, Senior Research Scholar, The Hasting Center

“Seeing a Person as a Body”
Speaker: Joshua Knobe, Associate Professor of Cognitive Science  & Philosophy, Yale University

“What Is Moral Enhancement? The Shades of 'Moral'”
Speaker: Anna Pacholczyk, Graduate Student, University of Manchester




10:45-12:15 PM Session II: General
Session Chair: Maxwell Mehlman, Professor of Bioethics & Law, Case Western Reserve University

“Is Ethical Theory Relevant to Neuroethical Evaluations of Enhancing Moral Brains?”
Speaker: John R. Shook, Faculty, Science and the Public MA program at University at Buffalo and Associate Fellow at Center for Neurotechnology Studies at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Virginia

“Enhancing for Virtue? Towards Holistic Moral Enhancement”
Speaker: William Kabasenche, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Washington State University

“Moral Enhancement? Evidence and Challenges”
Speaker: Molly Crockett, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Social & Neural Systems Research, Department of Economics, University of Zurich

“The Illusion of a Technological Moral Fix”
Speaker: Wendell Wallach, Scholar & Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University

Presentations:
 
Q&A:
 


2:00-3:15 PM Session III: Medicine
Session Chair: Wendell Wallach, Scholar & Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University

“Moral Disease:  An Initial Framework for Definition, Classification, Treatment,  and Improvement”
Speaker: Patrick Hopkins, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College

“The Pediatric Physician's Role in Modifying Childhood Behavior. Vendor or Gatekeeper? Facilitator or Judge?”
Speaker: Geoffrey Miller, Professor of Pediatrics (Neurology) and of Neurology; Clinical Director Yale Pediatric Neurology, Co-Director Yale/MDA Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic

“Parental Love Pills: Some Ethical Considerations”
Speaker: S. Matthew Liao, Director of Graduate Studies, Center for Bioethics; Clinical Associate Professor of Bioethics; Affiliated Professor of Philosophy, New York University




3:30-5:00 PM Session IV:  Ramifications for Law, National Security & Other Institutions
Session Chair: John R. Shook, Faculty, Science and the Public MA program at University at Buffalo and Associate Fellow at Center for Neurotechnology Studies at Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Virginia

“The Neurobiology of Virtue: Leveraging Neuroscience to Improve Character Development Institutions”
Speaker: William Casebeer, Program Manager, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

“Enhancing Criminal Brains?”
Speaker: Fabrice Jotterand, Assistant Professor, Clinical Sciences & Psychiatry, Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas

“Moral Enhancement and the Law”
Speaker: Maxwell Mehlman, Professor of Bioethics & Law, Case Western Reserve University

“Neuromorality: Implications for Human Ecology, Global Relations, and National Security Policy”
Speaker: James Giordano, PhD, Director, Center for Neurotechnology Studies, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, VA, USA; Research Associate, Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, University of Oxford, UK




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