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Authors: Boelsen, Hannes
Title: Applied metascience of neuroethics : a commentary on Paul M. Churland
Online publication date: 24-Oct-2016
Language: english
Abstract: This commentary is the first case study in the applied metascience of neuroethics, that is, the application of a metascientific approach to neuroethical research. I apply a bottom-up approach to neuroethics to Churchland’s publication. The bottom-up approach to neuroethics is a quantitative approach (based on scientometric methods) that, among other things, allows us to outline the field from 1995 until 2012 through the development of fifteen subject categories or topic prototypes. Each subject category or topic prototype is defined by up to thirty-one keywords that appear frequently in the abstracts and titles of the publications in the Mainz neuroethics bibliography. The connection strength between two subject categories or topic prototypes depends upon the number of shared publications, that is, the number of publications that can be assimilated to both subject categories or topic prototypes. Accordingly, a keyword-based search of the abstract and title of any publication in neuroethics allows us to assimilate it to (at least) one subject category or topic prototype and, thereby, localize it within neuroethics and reveal its degrees of relevance to neuroethical research, as measured by the connection strengths between the subject categories or topic prototypes. A case study on Churchland’s publication led to the following results: the publication is localized in the subject category or topic prototype Moral Theory, has high degrees of relevance to research that can be assimilated to the subject categories or topic prototypes Neuroimaging, Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness, and Economic and Social Neuroscience, and has low degrees of relevance to research that can be assimilated to the subject categories or topic prototypes Addiction, Brain Death and Severe Disorders of Consciousness, Brain Stimulation, Enhancement, Legal Studies, (Medical) Research and Medicine, Molecular Neurobiology and Genetics, Neuroscience and Society, Neurosurgery, Psychiatric and Neurodegenerative Diseases and Disorders, and Psychopharmacology. Such results can be fed back into neuroethical research, which, in turn, can optimize neuroethics itself and, hence, improve our pursuit of moral understanding. The take-home messages are as follows: potential follow-up studies on Churchland’s publication should consider my case study results and analysis and, furthermore, future neuroethical research should be more careful to take applied metascience of neuroethics into account. This can be done at different stages of research. If this general idea is on the right track, then applied metascience of neuroethics is complementary to (and perhaps even extends) Churchland’s argument, only on a different level.
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-549997
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: In Copyright
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Citation: Open MIND
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: Kap. 6(C)
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2015
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958570580
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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