Hello Neuroethics and Law readers – I’m Greg Caramenico, guest blogging here for the next few weeks. Much thanks to Adam for the invitation.
Among the topics I intend to post about here are strategies for reconciling phenomenal and folk psychological definitions of memory, agency, and personhood with the ones used by most neuroscientists and many who work in neuroethics; a look at the pros and cons of memory tampering and enhancement from a collective, social (as opposed to individual) perspective; and a historical perspective on the way that legal reasoning about persons/souls/minds has - and hasn't - been changed by scientific discovery. I'm concerned about the limits of knowledge in neuroscience and the possible consequences of such incomplete information for legal policy and ethics, so that concern underlies some of my writing and analysis here.
A little background: While a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, I became interested in neuroscience and law as a research assistant to Owen Jones and then through nascent MacArthur Law and Neuroscience program in 2006-2008. As a student of the history and philosophy of science, I became interested in how divergent explanations of the mind and its functions could be reconciled in legally and socially coherent, practical ways. After putting those questions aside while writing a book on neuroscience, humanism, and emergence, I recently returned to consider some aspects of neuroethics and law.
My first book – Coming to Mind, was recently published by the University of Chicago Press. Coauthored with philosopher L.E. Goodman, it offers a reassessment of ethical and epistemological assumptions widely held in contemporary neuroscience. The core argument frames debates about mind/soul, personhood, agency, and memory from the perspective of emergence, complex systems, embodiment, and top-down causality.
My current research interests lie in the legal and cultural consequences of pharmacological modifications of memory and forgetting. Other interests include biotech and pharmaceutical IP law, behavioral biology, and pharmaceutical ethics.