Article (Scientific journals)
The Scientific Study of Consciousness Cannot and Should Not Be Morally Neutral.
Mazor, Matan; Brown, Simon; Ciaunica, Anna et al.
2023In Perspectives on Psychological Science, 18 (3), p. 535-543
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Keywords :
Animals; Humans; Consciousness; Ethics, Research; Morals; allied field: philosophy; application: policy; comparative psychology; consciousness; ethics; metascience
Abstract :
[en] A target question for the scientific study of consciousness is how dimensions of consciousness, such as the ability to feel pain and pleasure or reflect on one's own experience, vary in different states and animal species. Considering the tight link between consciousness and moral status, answers to these questions have implications for law and ethics. Here we point out that given this link, the scientific community studying consciousness may face implicit pressure to carry out certain research programs or interpret results in ways that justify current norms rather than challenge them. We show that because consciousness largely determines moral status, the use of nonhuman animals in the scientific study of consciousness introduces a direct conflict between scientific relevance and ethics-the more scientifically valuable an animal model is for studying consciousness, the more difficult it becomes to ethically justify compromises to its well-being for consciousness research. Finally, in light of these considerations, we call for a discussion of the immediate ethical corollaries of the body of knowledge that has accumulated and for a more explicit consideration of the role of ideology and ethics in the scientific study of consciousness.
Disciplines :
Neurosciences & behavior
Author, co-author :
Mazor, Matan ;  Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London. ; Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, University
Brown, Simon ;  Department of Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University.
Ciaunica, Anna;  Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon.
Demertzi, Athina  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > GIGA > GIGA CRC In vivo Imaging - Physiology of Cognition
Fahrenfort, Johannes;  Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam. ; Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology, Vrije Universiteit.
Faivre, Nathan ;  Centre for Neuroprosthetics and Brain Mind Institute, Faculty of Life Sciences,  ; University Grenoble Alpes, University Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, LPNC.
Francken, Jolien C;  Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University.
Lamy, Dominique;  Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. ; School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University.
Lenggenhager, Bigna;  Department of Psychology, University of Zurich.
Moutoussis, Michael;  Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, University  ; Max Planck-University College London Centre for Computational Psychiatry and
Nizzi, Marie-Christine ;  Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry &  ; Cognitive Science Program, Dartmouth College. ; Institute for Interdisciplinary Brain and Behavioral Sciences, Chapman
Salomon, Roy;  Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Centre, Bar-Ilan University.
Soto, David;  Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain and Language, San Sebastian, Spain. ; Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain.
Stein, Timo;  Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam.
Lubianiker, Nitzan;  School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University. ; Sagol Brain Institute, Tel-Aviv Medical Centre, Tel Aviv, Israel.
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Language :
Title :
The Scientific Study of Consciousness Cannot and Should Not Be Morally Neutral.
Publication date :
May 2023
Journal title :
Perspectives on Psychological Science
Volume :
Issue :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer reviewed
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since 22 June 2023


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