RSVP: The Brain Mapping Initiatives: Foundational Issues


A conference presented by the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness and the NYU Center for Bioethics.

Friday, December 6, 2013—1:00-7:00PM, Reception to Follow
1:00-7:00PM - Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center, 100 Washington Square East, New York University

Saturday, December 7, 2013—9:00-5:00PM
9:00AM-5:00PM - Greenberg Lounge, Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, New York University

Earlier this year, President Obama announced funding for the BRAIN Initiative, which aims to develop new technologies to map neural activity throughout the brain in non-human animals and ultimately in humans. The initiative complements other major brain mapping projects, including the Human Brain Project (funded by he European Union), which aims to simulate a human brain, the Human Connectome Project (funded by the National Institute for Health), which aims to map the connectivity of the human brain, and the Allen Brain Atlas (funded by the Allen Institute for Brain Science), which aims to map gene expression in the mouse and human brains.

These brain mapping initiatives raise numerous foundational issues. These include ethical issues: what are the ethical implications of the initiatives, and what are the ethical constraints on how it should be construed? They also include epistemological issues: what can brain mapping tell us about states of the mind? There are also many associated theoretical issues in cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience: how can the results of these initiatives be integrated into a theory of the mind and the brain?

The conference will discuss all these issues in depth. It will start with a session devoted to the state of the science associated with the initiatives. There will then be sessions on ethical, epistemological, and theoretical issues, and it will conclude with a panel discussion.

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