The Centre organises seminars, conferences and workshops, bringing together world leading experts, young researchers and students to tackle the key research issues in neuroethics.  Information on events in related fields, organised by associated research programmes, is also available here

For past events, click here.

HT15 Special Lecture: Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military

Wednesday 18 March 2015, 5.30-6.45pm (booking required)

Title: Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military

Abstract: In this talk I explain the nature of national security interest in the burgeoning field of neuroscience and its implications for military and counter-intelligence operations.

Jonathan MorenoSpeakerProfessor Jonathan Moreno (University of Pennsylvania). Jonathan D. Moreno is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania where he is one of fifteen Penn Integrates Knowledge professors. At Penn he is also Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, of History and Sociology of Science, and of Philosophy. His latest book is Impromptu Man: J.L. Moreno and the Origins of Psychodrama, Encounter Culture, and the Social Network (2014), which Amazon named a “#1 hot new release.” Among his previous books are The Body Politic, which was named a Best Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, Mind Wars (2012), and Undue Risk (2000). Moreno frequently contributes to such publications as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and often appears on broadcast and online media. In 2008-09 he served as a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team. His work has been cited by Al Gore and was used in the development of the screenplay for “The Bourne Legacy.” His online neuroethics course drew more than 36,000 registrants in fall 2013. The American Journal of Bioethics has called him “the most interesting bioethicist of our time.” Moreno is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is the U.S. member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee. A Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., Moreno has served as an adviser to many governmental and non-governmental organizations, including three presidential commissions, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He holds the Visiting Professorship in History at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England. Moreno holds a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, was an Andrew W. Mellon post-doctoral fellow, holds an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, and is a recipient of the Benjamin Rush Medal from the College of William and Mary Law School and the Dr. Jean Mayer Award for Global Citizenship from Tufts University.

Venue: Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BD

Public event, all welcome but booking is required.

Book Online


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2015 Wellcome & Loebel Lecture in Neuroethics

Tuesday 10 March 2015, 5.30-6.45pm (booking required)

We are pleased to announce that our 2015 Wellcome & Loebel Lecture in Neuroethics will be delivered by Professor Shaun Nichols of University of Arizona.  

Title: Death and the self

Abstract: Many revolutionary positions in philosophy – skepticism, materialism, hard determinism – have disturbing implications.  By contrast, the revolutionary idea that there is no persisting self is supposed to have generally beneficial consequences.  Insofar as the self does not persist, one should be more generous to others, less punitive, and have less fear of death.  This talk will report recent experiments indicating that changing beliefs about the persistence of self does affect generosity and punitiveness. For attitudes about the self and death, we examined responses from Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists and Westerners; the results are complex and surprising.

Shaun NicholsShaun Nichols is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on the psychological underpinnings of ordinary thinking about philosophical issues.He is the author of Sentimental Rules: On the Natural Foundations of Moral Judgment (OUP, 2004) and co-author (with Stephen Stich) of Mindreading (OUP, 2003). He is editor of The Architecture of the Imagination (OUP, 2006) and co-editor of Experimental Philosophy (with Joshua Knobe; OUP, 2008; 2014). He has also published over 100 articles at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. 

Venue: Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BD

Download flier (PDF).  Public event, all welcome but booking is required.  

Book Online

This lecture is jointly hosted by the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and the Oxford Loebel Lectures and Research Programme.

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2014 Wellcome Lecture in Neuroethics

Thursday 30 October 2014, 5.30-6.45pm

Lecture Theatre
Oxford Martin School
University of Oxford
Old Indian Institute
34 Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BD

Public event, all welcome.  Booking required.

Book Online

We are pleased to announce that our 2014 Wellcome Lecture in Neuroethics will be delivered by Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong of Duke University, as follows:

Title: Implicit Moral Attitudes

Abstract: Most moral philosophers and psychologists focus on explicit moral beliefs that people give as answers to questions. However, much research in social psychology shows that implicit moral attitudes (unconscious beliefs or associations) also affect our thinking and behavior. This talk will report our new psychological and neuroscientific research on implicit moral attitudes (using a process dissociation procedure) and then explore potential implications for scientific moral psychology as well as  for philosophical theories of moral epistemology, responsibility, and virtue. If there is time, I will discuss practical uses of these findings in criminal law, especially regarding the treatment of psychopaths and prediction of their recidivism.

Bio: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chauncey Stillman Professor of Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. He is core faculty in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Sciences. He serves as Resource Faculty in the Philosophy Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Partner Investigator at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, and Research Scientist with The Mind Research Network in New Mexico. He has visited recently at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan (2010), the Macquarie Research Center for Agency, Values, and Ethics in Australia (2011), and the National Institutes of Health in Washington (2011). He has received fellowships from the Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, the Princeton Center for Human Values, the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University, and the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is co-chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association and has been co-director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and his doctorate from Yale University. He has published widely on ethics (theoretical and applied as well as meta-ethics), empirical moral psychology and neuroscience, philosophy of law, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and informal logic. Most recently, he is the author of Morality Without God? and Moral Skepticisms as well as editor of Moral Psychology, volumes I-III. His articles have appeared in a variety of philosophical, scientific, and popular journals and collections.  His current work is on moral psychology and brain science as well as uses of neuroscience in legal systems. He is also working on a book that will develop a contrastivist view of freedom and responsibility.


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MT13 Double Seminar (Rogers & Van Lange)

A joint event by the Oxford Martin School, Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship and the Institute of Science and Ethics.

"Serotonin influences the use of social norms in resource dilemmas" and "Prosociality and trust"

Professor Robert Rogers asks how do people sustain resources for the benefit of individuals and communities and avoid the 'Tragedy of the Commons' in which shared resources become exhausted? And Prof Paul Van Lange will discuss psychological and neuroscientific evidence showing that for prosocials, it is essential that they count on reciprocity. In contrast, for individualists, they may switch to cooperation  if they come to be convinced that they can count on reciprocity

Speakers: Professor Robert Rogers, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford and Senior Research Fellow, Jesus College Oxford and Professor Paul Van Lange, Professor of Social Psychology and Chair of the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, VU University at Amsterdam

Time and Date: Friday15 November, 5pm - 7pm 

Venue: Oxford Martin School, Corner of Catte and Holywell Street, Oxford

Registration and abstracts: 

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Wellcome Lecture in Neuroethics

Wednesday 27 November 2013, 5-7pm

Lecture Theatre
Oxford Martin School
University of Oxford
Old Indian Institute
34 Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BD

Public event, all welcome.  Booking not required.  Download flier (PDF)

The Oxford Centre for Neuroethics & International Neuroethics Society are pleased to present a set of two Wellcome Lectures in Neuroethics for 2013:

Brain mechanisms of voluntary action: the implications for responsibility

Prof. Patrick Haggard
University College London

The irresponsible self: Self bias changes the way we see the world
Prof. Glyn Humphreys
Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University

Abstract: Humans show a bias to favour information related to themselves over information related to other people. How does this effect arise? Are self biases a stable trait of the individual? Do these biases change fundamental perceptual processes? I will review recent work from my laboratory showing that self-biases modulate basic perceptual processes; they are stable for an individual and are difficult to control; they reflect rapid tuning of brain circuits to enhance the saliency of self-related items. I discuss the implications of this work for understanding whether perceptual processes are informationally encapsulated, and whether perception changes as a function of social context.

Bio: Glyn Humphreys is Watts Professor and Head of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford, having formerly been Professor of Psychology at both Birkbeck College and the University of Birmingham. His research interests cover a wide range of topics in visual cognition and his work uses a variety of techniques including neuropsychological case studies, fMRI, EEG and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation. He has been awarded the British Psychological Society’s Spearman Medal, its President Award and its Cognitive Psychology Prize (twice). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, the American Psychological Association and the British Academy.


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Special Seminar: Jeanette Kennett

This seminar is co-hosted by The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the International Neuroethics Society

Date and time:  24 May 2013, 5 - 6.30pm

Title: Folk Psychology, the Reactive Attitudes and Responsibility

Speaker: Professor Jeanette Kennett (Professor of Moral Psychology, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University)

Venue: Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG (buzzer 3 'Philosophy')

Further details: Booking not required, all welcome.

Abstract: This paper will explore the connections between the folk psychological project of interpretation, the reactive attitudes and responsibility. In the first section we will argue that the reactive attitudes originate in very fast and to a significant extent, non-voluntary processes involving constant facial feedback. These processes allow for smooth interaction between participants and are important to the interpretive practices that ground intimate relationships as well as to a great many less intense interactions. We will examine cases of facial paralysis (Moebius Syndrome and Botox studies) to support the argument that when these processes are interrupted or impaired, the interpretive project breaks down and social relationships suffer.
But do failures of interpretation lead, as Strawson suggests, to the suspension of the reactive attitudes relevant to responsibility assessments? We suggest that in many important instances they do not. Here we consider the cases of children who murder, alien cultures, and psychopaths. The second part of the paper examines the supposed consititutive relation between the reactive attitudes and responsibility.
My bio.

Jeanette Kennett is Professor of Moral Psychology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Agency Values and Ethics at Macquarie University. She has published widely on moral cognition, moral and criminal responsibility, and impairments of agency. She is currently lead investigator on an Australian Research Council funded project on Addiction and Moral Identity and is also a chief investigator on an ARC project examining implicit persuasion in direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising.


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