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From Neuroethics to Neo-romanticism. Aldous Huxley in Response to Current Proposals for Ethical and Legal Regulation of Neuroscience

Título de la revista: SCIO
ISSN: 1887-9853
Número: 21
Páginas: 113 - 148
Fecha de publicación: 2021
The neuroethics field emerged in the early 2000s in an effort to face important philosophical dilemmas and anticipate disruptive social changes linked to the use of neurotechnology (Safire, 2002). From very early on, this field grew out of two core issues, namely inquiries into the ethics of neuroscience ¿concerning the moral use of knowledge and technology¿ and inquiries into the neuroscience of ethics ¿on how new brain function evidence can change human self-understanding (Roskies 2002). Similarly, neurolaw is now on a parallel path with two main pillars as Chandler (2018) suggested, (1) ¿self-reflexive inquiry¿ (the neuroscience of law) and (2) ¿inquiry into the development and use of brain science and technologies¿ (the law of neuroscience). In this paper, I suggest that these two lines of research are still excessively disconnected from one another and, to support this claim, I analyze the three potential point-of-no-return risks that Aldous Huxley associated with technological challenges, namely centralization of power, bureaucratic alienation, and scientific idealism. In addition, I show how Huxley shifted analysis of technological problems from a focus on the rights of potential victims to the duties of potential aggressors. Finally, I argue that Aldous Huxley¿s view on how to build a bridge that brings pillars 1) and 2) closer together also helps prevent the technological point-of-no-return. According to Huxley, the key is found in paying particular attention to undeunderstanding contemplative activity, reinforcing its role in the study of reality, and, eventually, returning the romantic gaze updated to academia.