Can the Discovery of Consciousness Provide More Reason to Let a Patient Die? A Response to Savulescu (by Adam Shriver)

Recently, the Vancouver Sun reported on an ongoing legal case that potentially has important implications for neuroethics and the law.  Kenny Ng, the patient at the center of the controversy, was injured in a car accident seven years ago and diagnosed, after rigorous clinical assessment, as being in a vegetative state.  His wife would like […]

Propranolol as therapy for combat related PTSD? (Andrew Peterson)

S. Matthew Liao, director of the bioethics program at NYU, recently drew attention to important issues related to the use of propranolol to treat combat related post-traumatic stress disorder. In an interview published in the New York Times, Liao stated that a growing area of interest in the ethics of psychiatric therapy is the use […]

What Neuroscience has to tell us before it can tell us about morality.

By: Patrick Clipsham On November 19th 2012, Professor Patricia Churchland (UC San Diego) gave the first lecture in the Neurophilosophy Speaker Series, which is jointly sponsored by Western’s Rotman Institute of Philosophy and Brain and Mind Institute. Churchland is, without doubt, the ideal academic to give such an important lecture, as she has long been […]

Ethical Implications of Detecting Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness (By Mackenzie Graham and Andrew Peterson)

A recent BBC documentary profiles the extraordinary work of Western’s Dr. Adrian M. Owen on detecting unrecognized awareness in individuals diagnosed as being in a vegetative state (VS). Owen and his research team have developed a way for patients who are behaviorally non-responsive, and so incapable of revealing overt signs of awareness, to show that […]

Fraud in science, and the more widespread impact of the incentives that beget it (Nicholas McGinnis)

The Guardian recently ran an article about fraud in the sciences, noting the institutional pressures placed on researchers that play a part in motivating misconduct: “A recent paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that since 1973, nearly a thousand biomedical papers have been retracted because someone cheated the system. […]

An Interview with Dr. Lainie Ross (By Nanette Ryan)

An Interview with Dr. Lainie Ross Dr. Lainie Ross is the Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum Professor of Clinical Ethics; Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Surgery and The College; and Associate Director of the Maclean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, at the University of Chicago. On November 2nd, Dr. Ross joined us at the Rotman Institute as […]

‘Sugar is Toxic’ – how’s that for a press release title?

Image by Mark Smith from Nature, Feb 1st, 2012.   In some alternative health publications, the suggestion that sugar is a toxic substance would not be a news story, but when you start suggesting in Nature that sugar should be taxed and regulated like tobacco and alcohol – eyebrows raise. Drs. Robert H. Lustig, Laura […]

Quantum and Geometric Possibility

(Image:  Quantum Cloud, sculpture by Antony Gormley) Last year two books appeared that will be on the required reading list for philosophers of physics for many years to come: Gordon Belot‘s Geometric Possibility and Laura Ruetsche‘s Interpreting Quantum Theories.  The Rotman Institute hosted a book bash to celebrate the arrival of publication of these long-awaited […]

Commentary on George Reisch’s "The Paranoid Style in American History of Science" – By Reuven Brandt

The last talk in the Rotman lecture series, given by George Reisch of Northwestern University, focused on how the political and social climate of the late 1950s influenced Kuhn’s famous book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Reisch claims that Kuhn’s early insistence that paradigms immutably and comprehensively colour the way scientists perceive phenomena and assess […]