Science and Ethics

2 April 2013
4 PM
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Media Lab | E14 - 674
75 Amherst Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Martha J. Farah

Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Science

Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society

University of Pennsylvania

"Brave Neuro World? Reality and Hype in Neuroethics"

Advances in neuroscience have increased our ability to understand, predict and influence human behavior. In principle such advances can be applied to any field of endeavor that depends on human behavior, for example economics, education, law and warfare. In this talk I will raise, and attempt to answer, the following questions: How are these advances being used in practice? Which ethical problems have so far occupied the field of neuroethics, and which are relevant to current and plausible near-term uses of neuroscience? Does contemporary neuroscience raise any new ethical issues, not already familiar to scholars of bioethics or STS?

ARTHUR MILLER (B.S., '34; Ph.D., '38)

The Arthur Miller Lecture in Science and Ethics, held annually at MIT, honors the memory of Arthur Miller, an MIT alumnus (S.B. 1945) noted for his work in electronic measurement and instrumentation. During World War II, he worked at the Radiation Lab, for several years. His medical contributions included methods to reduce shock hazards in hospital monitoring systems and designing the first commercial cardiographs that featured adequate patient circuit isolation from line and ground.

Past lecturers of note have been:

2011 Marc Rotenberg (EPIC)
2010 Paul Farmer (Partners in Health Co-Founder)
2009 Troy Duster (NYU)
, 2007 Charles Perrow (Yale)
2006 Jim Kim (Harvard Medical School)
2005 Susan Hockfiled (MIT)
2004 Margaret Mellon (Union of Concerned Scientists)

For questions please contact Randyn Miller at or at (617) 253-3452.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Building E51-163