April 12, 2008

Remember my paper

S. Matthew LiaoA new paper by me and Matthew Liao is out online, The Normativity of Memory Modification in Neuroethics.

This paper is about the problems for morality that can occur when we edit our memories: if I erase a memory, may I become wrongly forgiving, if I add artificial memories, may I start living in a falsehood? Overall, we find that these modifications are not particularly troublesome as long as they do not harm others or oneself (this is the point where bioconservatives will mount their attack anyway) or we forget things we have an obligation to remember.

The real headache is of course the issues that are not strictly normative, like how we deal with each other having modified memories. On one hand we are already doing it (our memories are not very trustworthy and are surprisingly socially constructed), but as soon as inter-personal obligations and relations occur ethics always moves up one notch in complexity. Just recall the bisarre legal/social issues in John C. Wright's The Golden Age surrounding the memory editing and socially sanctioned self-censorship of the protagonist.

Posted by Anders3 at April 12, 2008 09:52 PM