The Ethics of Animal Research

Most of what we know about the brain comes from experiments on animals. Even when we do fMRI experiments on humans, we’re usually testing a hypothesis that is based on findings from animal experiments. Considering how important animal experimentation has been for the development of the field – and for the development of science and […]

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Mind Uploading and Personal Identity

Post-humanists envision a future in which human minds can be “uploaded” – uploaded to virtual environments, uploaded to new biological bodies, or uploaded to totally robotic bodies. Every sign in the rapid advance of neuroscience suggests that we should begin taking this idea seriously. Reflecting on the prospect of mind uploading, Princeton neuroscience professor Michael Graziano […]

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Buddhism and the Not-Self Doctrine

In my last post, I wrote that the Greeks developed the most sophisticated science of mind in the ancient world. I would now like to suggest that the most sophisticated philosophy of mind of the ancient world was being developed not in Greece, but about three thousand miles to the East, around present-day India. There, […]

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Ancient Greek Philosophy and the Birth of Neuroscience

We recognize today that the Ancient Greeks made significant achievements in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy, and that their achievements in these fields went unrivaled (in Europe) until the Renaissance. We know, for example, that Aristarchus proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system and offered a reasonably accurate estimation of the size of the Earth, and […]

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Cognitive Astrobiology

So here’s a cool combination of fields: neuroscience and astrobiology. Let’s call it “cognitive astrobiology.” What is cognitive astrobiology? It can take several forms. The first is figuring out how to communicate with extraterrestrial life. The SETI Institute, devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has a resident psychologist on board, Douglas Vakoch, whose job […]

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