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Social Neuroscience and Neuroethics: A Fruitful Synergy

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Neuroscience and Social Science

Abstract

Social neuroscience is shedding new light on the relationship between the brain and its environments. In the process, and despite criticism from the social sciences, the field is contributing to the discussion of long-standing controversies concerning, for example, the “nature-nurture” distinction and the relationships between social and neurobiological structures. In this chapter, we argue that in this endeavor social neuroscience would benefit from partnering with neuroethics insofar as their respective areas and methods of explanation are complementary rather than in competition. We provide a richer account of neuroethics than the one given in social neuroscientists’ common descriptions of that field and suggest that, when understood in this richer (and in our view more adequate) fashion, neuroethics may open up productive avenues for research and play a key role in allowing us to determine social neuroscience’s contribution to unveiling important epistemological as well as ontological notions. Accordingly, social neuroscience and neuroethics may form a constructive partnership.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Note that our understanding of the term “empirical neuroethics” is influenced by Northoff’s view [39] and thus not equivalent to Judy Illes’ use of the term [71].

  2. 2.

    A mix of both neurobioethics and empirical neuroethics articles is usually found in classic neuroethics texts. See, for example, [68,69,70].

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Acknowledgments

We wish to thank our colleagues at the Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics and especially Michele Farisco, for their constructive comments and suggestions. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovationprogram under grant agreement 720270 (HBP SGA1).

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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Correspondence to Arleen Salles .

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Salles, A., Evers, K. (2017). Social Neuroscience and Neuroethics: A Fruitful Synergy. In: Ibáñez, A., Sedeño, L., García, A. (eds) Neuroscience and Social Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68421-5_22

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