Neuroethics & Philosophy

Neuroethics & Philosophy

The field of neurotechnology is rapidly introducing new devices, techniques and tools that interact with people’s brain and nervous system. Any technology that interfaces with a person’s sensory or motor functions can potentially affect that person. Each new discovery has ethical implications, some which may have never been explored previously. These resources can be helpful for understanding how to integrate neuroethics into secondary STEM classrooms.

Videos & Films

Art+Science = Neuroethics - This video features interviews with UW Professors Sara Goering and Tom Daniel. The video provides an introduction to ethical considerations related to neural engineering devices and technologies.

Philosophy for Kids: Sparking a Love of Learning - This TEDxOverlake talk by CNT researcher Dr. Sara Goering explores how philosophy can inspire a love for learning in children.

Neurotechnology and Neuroethics - an American Psychological Association talk by CNT Executive Director Dr. Eric Chudler.

FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement is a documentary-style film that focuses on the topics of neurotechnologies, human enhancement, and disability. A trailer is available, and the film may be streamed using Kanopy by logging in with a public library card.


Neuroscience for Kids offers questions to guide a discussion about some of the ethical issues involved in neuroscience and neural engineering.

The CNT Neuroethics Thrust has information on programs, papers, and projects conducted by the CNT philosophers.

Curriculum & Instructional Materials

Check out Chapter 4 of the Virtual REACH Program: Exploring Neuroscience and Neurotechnologies at Home digital book, which focuses on the topic of neuroethics. This e-book was written for secondary students. The chapter can be used as a student assignment and includes background information, readings, videos, and more geared at secondary students.

CNT neuroethics researchers developed a series of case studies in neuroethics.The six fictional cases and accompanying questions can be used to prompt discussions.

The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research offers a series of free bioethics curriculum through its Teacher Center. The materials are geared towards students in grades seven to 12 and include: Bioethics 101; The Nature of Scientific Research; Animals in Research; and Humans in Research. NWABR also offers a Bioethics Primer. All materials may be downloaded directly from the site. NWABR also offers this list of classroom strategies for engaging students in structured ethical discussion.

The CNT offers teacher-authored curriculum units that integrates neural engineering and neuroethics topics. The unit, "Neural Engineering and Ethical Implications," includes a lesson plan (Lesson 2) that uses neuroethics case studies. The unit, "Introduction to Neural Engineering: Neuroprosthetics and BCIs" includes a Socratic Seminar structure for a discussion about the ethical implications of neuroprosthetics (see Lesson 8). In addition, Lesson 4 of the unit "The Synapse: An Engineering Design Challenge" has students read an article and engage in a discussion of the ethical implications of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs).