lit up areas of brain activity

The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of activity in neuroscience, driven forward by the success of high resolution techniques for imaging neural activity.  Thus neuroscience has made enormous advances in recent years, challenging our traditional understanding of consciousness, responsibility, well-being and morality. Our newfound knowledge of the brain and the mind undermines previous beliefs about a number of areas of private and public life, including addiction and its treatment, criminal responsibility, the treatment of vegetative patients, medical decision making and the enhancement of normal human capacities. It also raises a new question: what are the moral limits of the use of such technology? 

 Neuroethics encompasses two different consequences of this neural revolution: (1) the application of such neuroscientific techniques to understanding ethics, and (2) ethical implications of the new technology.

Under (1), our understanding of the neural processes that underlie ethical judgements is accelerating, with some of the leading work taking place in the Centre.  These dramatic advances are helping to answer some of the most long-standing questions about the nature of moral psychology.

Under (2), work in the Centre examines the ethical implications of a wide range of issues generated by the new neuroscience, including: consciousness in vegetative state patients, use of drugs and brain stimulation for cognitive and moral enhancement, addiction and the mechanisms of self-control, and the use of neuroscientific techniques to monitor and improve difficult practical decision making.

For information and resources relating to the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, please see the project's webpages here.


Policy and Advice

  • Maslen, H., Savulescu, J., Levy, N., Cohen Kadosh, R. and Douglas, T., (2014), 'Mind Machines: The Regulation of Cognitive Enhancement Devices', Oxford Martin School Policy Paper  [freely available]
  • Ord, T. (2010 ongoing), Consultant on the ethics of Artifical General Intelligence for a new AGI company at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London.
  • Savulescu, J. (2009), European Parliament. Brain Awareness Week Debate Presentation: From Stem Cells to Neuroethics (18 March 2009)




Kagan, B., Gyngell, C., Lysaght, T., Cole D, V., Sawai, T. and Savulescu, J., 'The technology, opportunities, and challenges of Synthetic Biological Intelligence', Biotechnology Advances, Vol: 68(November): Article 108233 [PMC7615149]

Lyreskog, D., (2023), 'Withering Minds: towards a unified embodied mind theory of personal identity for understanding dementia', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 49(10): 699–706 [PMC10579458]

Ligthart, S., Tesink, V., Douglas, T., Forsberg, L. and Meynen, G., (2023), 'The Normative Evaluation of Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice: From Invasiveness to Human Rights', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 14(1): 23-25

Lyreskog, D., Pavarini, G., Jacobs, E., Bennett, V., Mawdsley, G. and Singh, I., (2023), 'Testing Design Bioethics Methods: Comparing a Digital Game with a Vignette Survey for Neuroethics Research with Young People', AJOB Empirical Bioethics, Vol: 14(1) [PMC9612923

Lyreskog, D., Zohny, H., Savulescu, J. and Singh, I., (2023), 'Merging Minds: the conceptual and ethical impacts of technologies for collective minds', Neuroethics, Vol: 16(1): 12

Tesink, V., Douglas, T., Forsberg, L., Ligthart, S. and Meynen, G., (2023), 'Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice: On the Scope of the Moral Right to Bodily Integrity', Neuroethics, Vol: 16(26) 

Zohny, H., Lyreskog, D., Singh, I. and Savulescu, J., (2023), 'The mystery of mental integrity: Clarifying its relevance to neurotechnologies', Neuroethics, Vol: 16(20) [PMC10442279]


Leuenberger, M., (2022), 'Memory Modification and Authenticity: A Narrative Approach', Neuroethics, Vol: 15(10) [PMC8847193]

De Marco, G. and Douglas, T., (2022), 'The Expressivist Objection to Nonconsensual Neurocorrectives', Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol: 16: 373–393 [PMC9209385]

Ligthart, S.,  Meynen, G. and Douglas, T., (2022), 'Persuasive technologies and the right to mental liberty: The ‘smart’ rehabilitation of criminal offenders'. in Ienca, M., Pollicino, O., Liguori, L., Andorno, R. and Stefanini, E., (Eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Life Science, Information Technology and Human Rights. (Cambridge University Press) [NBK592241]

Rainey, S., Olaciregui Dague, K., & Crisp, R., (2022), 'Brain-State Transitions, Responsibility, and Personal Identity', Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol: 31(4), pp. 453-4631 [subscription only]


Douglas, T. and Forsberg, L., (2021), 'Three Rationales for a Legal Right to Mental Integrity'. in Douglas, T., Ligthart, S., Kooijmans, T. and Meynen, G., (Eds.) Neurolaw: Ways forward for Neuroscience, Justice & Security. (Palgrave Macmillan). Freely available in OAPEN Library.

Gross, J., Faber, N., Am, N., Cowen, P., Browning, M., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J., Crockett, M. J. and De Dreu, C., (2021), 'When Helping is Risky: The Behavioral and Neurobiological Tradeoff of Social and Risk Preferences', Psychological Science, Vol: 32(11): 1842-1855 [PMC7614101]


Pugh, J., (2020), 'Clarifying the Normative Significance of ‘Personality Changes’ Following Deep Brain Stimulation', Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol: 26: 1655–1680 [PMC7286862]

Rainey, S., Martin, S., Christen, A., Mégevand, P. and Fourneret, E., (2020), 'Brain Recording, Mind-Reading, and Neurotechnology: Ethical Issues from Consumer Devices to Brain-Based Speech Decoding', Sci Eng Ethics, Vol: 26: 2295–2311 [PMC7417394]

Rainey, S., Maslen, H. and Savulescu, J., (2020), 'When Thinking is Doing: Responsibility for BCI-Mediated Action', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 11(1): 46-58 [PMC7034530]

Savulescu, J. and McConnell, D., (2020), 'Welfarist Psychiatry Goes Global'. in D. Stein and I. Singh, (Eds.)  Global Mental Health and Neuroethics. (Elsevier) [NBK559850]

Voinea, C., Mihailov, E., Savulescu, J. and Vica, C., (2020), 'The Internet as Cognitive Enhancement', Science and Engineering Ethics, Vol: 26(4): 2345–2362 [PMC7417391]


Anomaly, J., Gyngell, C. and Savulescu, J., (2019) 'Great minds think different: Preserving cognitive diversity in an age of gene editing', Bioethics, Vol: 34(1): 81-89 [PMC6973122]

Barn, G., (2019), 'Can Medical Interventions Serve as ‘Criminal Rehabilitation’?: A reply to Douglas', Neuroethics, Vol: 12(1): 85-96 [PMC6411675]

Douglas, T., (2019), 'Nonconsensual Neurocorrectives and Bodily Integrity: A Reply to Shaw and Barn', Neuroethics, Vol: 12(1): 107-118 [PMC6411672]

Koplin, J. and Savulescu, J., (2019), 'Moral Limits of Brain Organoid Research', Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Vol: 47(4): 760-767 [PMC7433685]

Pugh, J., Aziz, T., Herring, J. and Savulescu, J., (2019), 'Deep Brain Stimulation and Revising The Mental Health Act: The Case for Intervention-Specific Safeguards', British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol: 214(3): 133-136 [PMC6420052]

Schaefer, G. O. and Savulescu, J., (2019), 'Procedural Moral Enhancement', Neuroethics, Vol: 12(1): 73-84 [PMC6411668]

Shepherd, J., (2019), 'Skilled action and the double life of intention', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol: 98(2): 286-305 [PMC6436716]

Zohny, H., (2019), 'Moral enhancement and the good life', Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, Vol: 22(2): 267–274 [PMC6499734]

Zohny, H., Douglas, T. and Savulescu, J., (2019), 'Biomarkers for the Rich and Dangerous: Why We Ought to Extend Bioprediction and Bioprevention to White-Collar Crime', Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol: 13: 479–497 [PMC6661018]


Maslen, H., Cheeran, B., Pugh, J., Pycroft, L., Boccard, S., Prangnell, S., Green, A. L., Fitzgerald, J., Savulescu, J. and Aziz, T., (2018), 'Unexpected Complications of Novel Deep Brain Stimulation Treatments: Ethical Issues and Clinical Recommendations', Neuromodulation, Vol: 21(2): 135-143. [open access]

Pugh, J., Pycroft, L., Sandberg, A., Aziz, T. and Savulescu, J., (2018), 'Brainjacking in Deep Brain Stimulation, and Autonomy', Ethics and Information Technology, Vol: 20(3): 219-232 [open access]

Wagner, K., Maslen, H., Oakley, J. and Savulescu, J., (2018), 'Would you be willing to zap your child's brain? Public perspectives on parental responsibilities and the ethics of enhancing children with transcranial direct current stimulation', AJOB Empirical Bioethics, Vol: 9(1): 29-38  [PMC6068541]


Douglas, T., Earp, B. D. and Savulescu, J., (2017), 'Moral Neuroenhancement'. in K. Rommelfanger and L. Johnson, (Eds.)  Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. (Routledge, New York) [open access]

Earp, B. D., Wudarczyk, O. A., Foddy, B. and Savulescu, J., (2017), 'Addicted to love: What is love addiction and when should it be treated? ', Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Vol: 24 (1): 77-92. [open access]

Levy, N., (2017), 'Implicit Bias and Moral Responsibility: Probing the Data', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol: 94(1): 3-26. 

Pugh, J. and Maslen, H., (2017 Forthcoming), ''Drugs That Make You Feel Bad’? Remorse-Based Mitigation and Neurointerventions', Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol: online first. [open access]

Pugh, J., Maslen, H. and Savulescu, J., (2017), 'Deep Brain Stimulation, Authenticity and Value', Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol: 26(4): 640-657. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2017), 'Neuroscientific threats to free will'. in M. Griffith, N. Levy and K. Timpe, (Eds.)   Routledge Companion to Free Will. (Routledge Taylor & Francis)


Christen, M., Walter, H., Savulescu, J., Bringedal, B. and Biller-Andorno, N., (2016), 'Ethical Challenges of Simulation-Driven Big Neuroscience', AJOB: Neuroscience, Vol: 7(1): 5-17. 

Earp, B. D., Sandberg, A., & Savulescu, J. (2016). 'The medicalization of love: Response to critics'. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol. 25, No. 4, 759-771.

Faber, N., Savulescu, J. and Douglas, T., (2016), 'Why is Cognitive Enhancement Deemed Unacceptable? The Role of Fairness, Deservingness, and Hollow Achievements', Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 19 February. [open access]

Faber, N. S., Savulescu, J. and Van Lange, P. A. M., (2016), 'Reputational concerns as a general determinant of group functioning', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol: 39 (e148).

Häusser, J. A., Leder, J., Ketturat, C., Dresler, M. and Faber, N. S., (2016), 'Sleep deprivation and advice taking', Scientific Reports, Vol: 6 (Article 24386). [open access]

Levy, N., (2016), 'Addiction, Autonomy and Informed Consent: On and Off the Garden Path', Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol: 41(1): 56-73.

Maslen, H. and Savulescu, J., (2016), Open Peer Commentary: 'Neurofeedback for Moral Enhancement: Irreversibility, Freedom and Advantages over Drugs', American Journal of Bioethics: Neurosciences, Vol: 7(2): 120-122.

Pugh, J. and Douglas, T., (2016), 'Neurointerventions as Criminal Rehabilitation: An Ethical Review' in J. Jacobs and J. Jackson, (Eds.)  Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics. (Routledge)

Schaefer, G. O. and Savulescu, J., (2016), 'Procedural Moral Enhancement', Neuroethics, Vol: online first. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2016), 'Conscious Action/Zombie Action', Noûs, Vol: 50(2): 419-444. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2016), 'Moral Conflict in the Minimally Conscious State'. in W. Sinnott-Armstrong (Ed.), Finding Consciousness: The Neuroscience, Ethics and Law of Severe Brain Damage. (Oxford: Oxford University Press) [open access]

Terbeck, S., Savulescu, J., Chersterman, L. P. and Cowen, P. J., (2016), 'Noradrenaline effects on social behaviour, intergroup relations, and moral decisions', Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol: 66(July): 54–60. [open access]

Wilkinson, D., Truog, R. and Savulescu, J., (2016), 'In favour of medical dissensus: why we should agree to disagree about end of life decisions', Bioethics, Vol: 30(2): 109-118 [open access]

Wittmann, M. K., Kolling, N., Faber, N. S., Scholl, J., Nelissen, N. and Rushworth, M. F. S., (2016), 'Self-other-mergence in frontal cortex during cooperation and competition', Neuron, 91, Vol: 91: 482–493 [open access]


Brecht, M. and Wilkinson, D., (2015), 'The outcome of treatment limitation discussions in newborns with brain injury', Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition, Vol: 100(2): F155–F160. [open access]

Caviola, L. and Faber, N. S., (2015), 'Pills or push-ups? Effectiveness and public perception of pharmacological and non-pharmacological cognitive enhancement',Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 6(1852). [open acess]

Earp, B. D., Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The medicalization of love', Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Vol: 24(13). [open access]

Earp, B. D. and Trafimow, D., (2015), 'Replication, falsification, and the crisis of confidence in social psychology', Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 6(Article 621). [open access]

Earp, B. D. (2015). Does religion deserve a place in secular medicine? Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 41, No. 11, 865-866.

Everett, J. A. C., Faber, N.S. and Crockett, M.J., (2015), 'Preferences and beliefs in ingroup favoritism', Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol: 9(15). [open access]

Everett, J.A.C., Faber, N.S., Crockett, M.J. and De Dreu, C.K.W., (2015), 'Economic games and social neuroscience methods can help elucidate the psychology of parochial altruism', Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 6(861) [open access]

Everett, J.A.C., Faber, N. S. and Crockett, M. J., (2015), 'The influence of social preferences and reputational concerns on intergroup prosocial behaviour in gains and losses contexts', Royal Society Open Science, Vol: 2(150546). [open access]

Everett, J.A.C., Caviola, L., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J. and Faulmüller, N., (2015), 'Doing good by doing nothing? The role of social norms in explaining default effects in altruistic contexts', The European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol: 45(2): 230-241. [open access]

Everett, J.A.C., Schellhaas, F M.H., Earp, B D., Ando, V., Memarzia, J., Parise, C., Fell, B. and Hewstone, M., (2015), 'Covered in stigma? The impact of differing levels of Islamic head-covering on explicit and implicit biases toward Muslim women', Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol: 45(2): 90-104.[open access]

Everett, J.A.C., Caviola, L., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J. and Faulmüller, N., (2015), 'Doing good by doing nothing? The role of social norms in explaining default effects in altruistic contexts', The European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol: 45(2): 230-241. [open access]

Faber, N.S., Häusser, J.A. and Kerr, N.L., (2015), 'Sleep deprivation impairs and caffeine enhances my performance, but not always our performance: How acting in a group can change the effects of impairments and enhancements', Personality and Social Psychology Review, Vol: advance online

Faber, N. S., Douglas, T., Heise, F. and Hewstone, M., (2015), 'Cognitive enhancement and motivation enhancement – An empirical comparison of intuitive judgments', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 6(1): 18-20. [open peer commentary]

Kahane, G., (2015), 'Sidetracked by trolleys: Why sacrificial moral dilemmas tell us little (or nothing) about utilitarian judgment', Social Neuroscience, Vol: 10(5). [open access]

Kahane, G., Everett, J. A. C., Earp, B., Farias, M. and Savulescu, J., (2015), '‘Utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial moral dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good', Cognition, Vol: 134(January): 193–209. [open access] 

Maslen, H., Santoni De Sio, F. and Faber, N. S., (2015), 'With cognitive enhancement comes great responsibility?'. in B. J. Koops, I. Oosterlaken, H. Romijn, T. Swierstra and J. v. d. Hoven, (Eds.) Responsible Innovation 2 – Concepts, Approaches, and Applications. (Cham: Springer International Publishing) pp 121-138. 

Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Cohen Kadosh, R., Levy, N. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Do-it-yourself brain stimulation: a regulatory model', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 41(5): 413-414.

Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Cohen Kadosh, R., Levy, N. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: refining Maslen et al’s model', Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Vol: 2(3): 754-767 [open access]

Maslen, H., Pugh, J. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'Authenticity and the Stimulated Self: Neurosurgery for Anorexia Nervosa', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 16(4): 69-71.

Maslen, H., Pugh, J. and Savulescu, J., (2015), 'The Ethics of Deep Brain Stimulation for the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa', Neuroethics, Vol: 8(3): 215-230. [open access]

Pugh, J., Kahane, G., Maslen, H. and Savulescu, J.(2015), 'Lay Attitudes Towards Deception in Medicine: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence', AJOB Empirical Bioethics, Vol: 7(1): 31-38. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2015), 'Deciding as Intentional Action: Control over Decisions', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol: 93(2): 335–351. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2015), 'Scientific Challenges to Free Will and Moral Responsibility', Philosophy Compass, Vol: 10(3): 197-207. [open access] 

Shepherd, J., (2015), 'Conscious Control over Action', Mind & Language, Vol: 30(3): 320–344.[open access]

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., Mctavish, S., Mccutcheon, R., Hewstone, M., Savulescu, J., Chersterman, L. P., Cowen, P. and Norbury, R., (2015), 'β-Adrenoceptor blockade modulates fusiform gyrus activity to black versus white faces', Psychopharmacology, Vol: 232(16): 2951-2958. [open access]

Wölfer, R., Faber, N. S. and Hewstone, M., (2015), 'Social network analysis in the science of groups', Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, Vol: 19:1 45-61.


Baum, M. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Behavioural BioMarkers: What are they Good for? Toward the Ethical Use of Biomarkers'. in I. Singh, W. Sinnott-Armstrong and J. Savulescu, (Eds.), Bio-Prediction, Biomarkers, and Bad Behaviour: Scientific, Legal and Ethical Challenges. ( Oxford: Oxford University Press) pp 12-41. 

Birks, D., (2014), 'Moral Status and the Wrongness of Paternalism', Social Theory and Practice, Vol: 40(3): 483-498. [open access]

Caviola, L. and Faber, N. S., (2014), 'How stress influences our morality', In-Mind Magazine, Vol: (23). [magazine article]

Caviola, L., Mannino, A., Savulescu, J. and Faulmüller, N., (2014), 'Cognitive biases can affect moral intuitions about cognitive enhancement', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: Online 15 October 2014. [open access]

Caviola, L., Faulmüller, N., Everett, J. a. C., Savulescu, J. and Kahane, G., (2014), 'The evaluability bias in charitable giving: Saving administration costs or saving lives?', Judgment and Decision Making, Vol: 9(4): 303-315. [open access]

Earp, B. D. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Neuroreductionism about Sex and Love', Think, Vol: 13(38): 7-12. [freely available] 

Earp, B. D., Everett, J. A. C., Madva, E. N. and Hamlin, J. K. (2014). "Out, damned spot: can the "Macbeth Effect" be replicated?" Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Vol: 36(1): 91-98. [open access]

Levy, N. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'The Neuroethics of Transcranial Electrical Stimulation' in R. C. Kadosh, (Ed.)  The Stimulated Brain. (Amserdam: Elsevier) pp 499-522. [Winner in the 39th Annual PROSE Awards (Honorable Mention in the Biomedicine & Neuroscience category). The PROSE Awards annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content.]

Levy, N., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Terbeck, S., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Are You Morally Modified? The Moral Effects of Widely Used Pharmaceuticals', Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, Vol: 21(2): 111–125. [open access]

Levy, N., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Terbeck, S., Cowen, P., Hewstone, M. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Disease, Normality and Current Pharmacological Moral Modification' [reply to commentators], Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, Vol: 21(2): 135-137.

Levy, N., (2014), 'The Value of Consciousness', Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol: 21: 127-138. [open access]

Levy, N., (2014). 'Is Neurolaw Conceptually Confused?', The Journal of Ethics, Vol: 18(2): 171-185. [open access]

Levy, N., (2014). "Psychopaths and blame: The argument from content" Philosophical Psychology, Vol: online. [open access]

Levy, N., (2014). 'Addiction as a disorder of belief', Biology & Philosophy, Vol: 29(3): 337-355. [open access]

Levy, N., (2014). 'Consciousness, Implicit Attitudes and Moral Responsibility', Noûs, Vol: 48: 21-40.  [open access]

Levy, N., (2014). 'The Value of Consciousness', Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol: 21: 127-138

Maslen, H., Savulescu, J., Levy, N., Cohen Kadosh, R. and Douglas, T., (2014), 'Mind Machines: The Regulation of Cognitive Enhancement Devices', Oxford Martin School Policy Paper  [freely available]

Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Cohen Kadosh, R., Levy, N. and Savulescu, J., (2014). "The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: extending the medical model" Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Vol: 1(1): 68-93 [open access]

Maslen, H., Faulmüller, N. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Pharmacological cognitive enhancement - how future neuroscientific research could advance ethical debate', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8 (107). [open access]

Mojzisch, A., Kerschreiter, R., Faulmüller, N., Vogelgesang, F. and Schulz-Hardt, S., (2014), 'The consistency principle in interpersonal communication: Consequences of preference confirmation and disconfirmation in collective decision-making', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol: (106): 961-977

Pugh, J., (2014), 'Enhancing Autonomy by Reducing Impulsivity: The Case of ADHD', Neuroethics, Vol: 7(3): 373–375.

Roache, R., (2014). 'Can Brain Scans Prove Criminals Unaccountable?', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 5(2): 35-37. [open access]

Santoni De Sio, F., Faulmüller, N. and Vincent, N. A., (2014), 'How cognitive enhancement can change our duties', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Vol: 8(131). [open access]

Savulescu, J. (2014). 'Autonomy and the Ethics of Behavioural Modification'. in Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues. A. Akabyashi, Ed  (Oxford: Oxford University Press): Part 1 Section B (3.1), pp 91-112.

Shea, N., (2014), 'Reward prediction error signals are meta-representational', Noûs, Vol: Vol: 48(2): 314-341. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2014). "The Contours of Control" Philosophical Studies, Vol: Vol: 170(3): 395-411. [open access]

Shepherd, J., (2014), 'Consciousness, free will, and moral responsibility: Taking the folk seriously', Philosophical Psychology, Vol: 28(7): 929-946.

Shepherd, J. and Justus, J., (2014), 'X-Phi and Carnapian Explication', Erkenntis, Vol: 80(2): 381-402. [open access]

Singh, I., Sinnott-Armstrong, W. P. and Savulescu, J., Eds. (2014). 'Bioprediction, Biomarkers and Bad Behaviour'. (Oxford, Oxford University Press).

Wilkinson, D. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'A costly separation between withdrawing and withholding treatment in intensive care', Bioethics, Vol: 28(3): 127-137. [open access]

Wilkinson, D. and Savulescu, J., (2014), 'Disability, discrimination and death: is it justified to ration life saving treatment for disabled newborn infants?', Monash Bioethics Review., Vol: 32(1-2): 43-62. [open access]


Barutchu, A., Becker, S. I., Carter, O., Hester, R. and Levy, N., (2013). 'The role of task-related learned representations in explaining asymmetries in task switching', PLoS ONE, Vol: 4(e61729). [open access]

Barutchu, A., Carter, O., Hester, R. and Levy, N., (2013). 'Strength in cognitive self-regulation', Frontiers in Cognition, Vol: 4: 1-10. [open access]

Douglas, T., (2013), 'Enhancing Moral Conformity and Enhancing Moral Worth', Neuroethics, Vol: online. [open access]

Earp, B. D., Dill, B., Harris, J., Ackerman, J. M. and Bargh, J. A. (2013), 'No sign of quitting: Incidental exposure to “no smoking” signs ironically boosts cigarette-approach tendencies in smokers', Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol: 43(10) pp. 2158-2162 [pre print]

Farias, M., Newheiser, AK., Kahane,G. and de Toledoa, Z., (2013), 'Scientific faith: Belief in science increases in the face of stress and existential anxiety', J Exp Soc Psychol, 49(6) pp 1210–1213 [open access]

Gipson, J., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J., (2013), 'Attitudes of Lay People to Withdrawal of Treatment in Brain Damaged Patients', Neuroethics, Vol: 7(1): 1-9 [open access]

Kahane, G. (2013), 'The Armchair and the Trolley: An Argument for Experimental Ethics', Philosophical Studies, Vol: 162(2): 421-445 [open access]

Levy, N., (2013).'Justice for Psychopaths', AJOB-Neuroscience, Vol: 4: 23-24.

Levy, N., (2013). 'Are We Agents At All? Helen Steward’s Agency Incompatibilism', Inquiry, Vol: 56(386-399). 

Levy, N., (2013). 'Free will doesn’t come for free', AJOB-Neuroscience, Vol: 4(4): 53-54. 

Levy, N., (2013). 'The Importance of Awareness', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol: 91(2): 211-229.  
Levy, N., (2013). 'The moral significance of being born', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 39(5): 326-329.

Levy, N., (2013). 'There May Be Costs to Failing to Enhance, as Well as to Enhancing', American Journal of Bioethics, Vol: 13(7): 38-39.

Levy, N., (2013). 'Addiction is not a brain disease (and it matters)', Frontiers in Addictive Disorders & Behavioral Dyscontrol, Vol: 4: 1-7. [open access]

Maslen, H., Savulescu, J., Douglas, T., Levy, N. and Cohen Kadosh, R., (2013). 'Regulating Cognitive Enhancement Devices', The Lancet, Vol: 382(9896): 938

Shea, N. (2013), 'Inherited representations are read in development', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol: 64(1): 1-31 [open access]

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Levy, N., Hewstone, M. and Cowen, P.J., (2013), 'Beta adrenergic blockade reduces utilitarian judgement', Biological Psychology, Vol: 92(2): 323-328. [open access]

Wilkinson, D. and Savulescu, J., (2013), 'Is it better to be minimally conscious than vegetative?', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 39(9): 557-558.

Wiech, K., Kahane, G., Shackel, N., Farias, M., Savulescu, J. and Tracey, I., (2013), 'Cold or Calculating? Reduced Activity in the Subgenual Cingulate Reflects Decreased Aversion to Harming in Counterintuitive Utilitarian Judgment', Cognition, Vol: 126(3): 364-372. [open access]


Cohen Kadosh, R., Levy, N., O’Shea, J., Shea, N. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'The Neuroethics of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation', Current Biology, Vol: 22(4): R1-R4.

Earp, B., Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'Natural Selection, Childrearing, and the Ethics of Marriage (and Divorce): Building a Case for the Neuroenhancement of Human Relationships', Philosophy & Technology, Vol: online first [open access]

Erler, A., (2012), 'One Man's Authenticity is Another Man's Betrayal: a Reply to Levy', Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol: 29(3).

Kahane, G., Wiech, K., Shackel, N., Farias, M., Savulescu, J. and Tracey, I. (2012), 'The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement', Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol: 7(4): 393-402. [open access]

Kahane, G., (2012), 'On the Wrong Track: Process and Content in Moral Psychology', Mind & Language, Vol: 27(5): 519–545 [open access]

Levy, N., (2012), 'Ecological Engineering: Reshaping Our Environments to Achieve Our Goals', Philosophy & Technology Vol: online first [open access]

Levy, N., (2012), 'A Role For Consciousness After All', Journal of Moral Philosophy, Vol: 99: 255-264

Levy, N., (2012), 'Neuroethics', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science,Vol: 3: 143-151

Levy, N., (2012), 'Expressing Who We Are: Moral Responsibility and Awareness of our Reasons for Action', Analytic Philosophy, Vol: 52: 243-261

Levy, N., (2012). 'Capacities and counterfactuals: A Reply to Haji and McKenna', Dialectica, Vol: 66: 607-620.  

Levy, N., (2012). 'Skepticism and Sanction: The Benefits of Rejecting Moral Responsibility', Law and Philosophy, Vol: 31(5): 477-493.

Levy, N. (2011), 'Neuroethics: A new way of doing ethics', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 2(2) pp. 3-9

Sandberg, A., Sinnott-Armstrong, W. and Savulescu, J., (2012), 'The Memory of Jurors: Enhancing Trial Performance'. in L. Nadel and W. Sinnott-Armstrong, (Eds.), Oxford Series in Neuroscience, Law, and Philosophy, (New York: Oxford University Press) pp 213-232.

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2012), 'Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement', (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Shea, N., (2012), 'New thinking, innateness and inherited representation', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Vol: 367(1599): 2234-2244 [open access]

Shea, N., (2012), 'Two Modes of Transgenerational Information Transmission' in. B. Calcott, B. Fraser, R. Joyce and K. Sterelny (eds). Signaling, Commitment, and Emotion (MIT Press).

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. and Hewstone, M., (2012), '‘Reply to Burchett, T. S. and Glenn, L. L., “Measurement Validity of Tests for Implicit Negative Bias”’', Psychopharmacology, Vol: 222(4): 723-724

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. and Hewstone, M. (2012), 'Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias ', Psychopharmacology Vol: 222 (3), pp.419-424

Terbeck, S., Kahane, G., McTavish, S., Savulescu, J., Cowen, P. and Hewstone, M. (2012), 'Propranolol reduces implicit negative racial bias ', Psychopharmacology Vol: online first.


Kahane, G., Wiech, K., Shackel, N., Farias, M., Savulescu, J. and Tracey, I. (2011), 'The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement', Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol: online advanced access

Levy, N., (2011), 'Resisting Weakness of the Will', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol: 82 (1): 134-155 [open access]

Levy, N. (2011), 'Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility', (Oxford University Press, Oxford)

Levy, N. (2011), 'Enhancing Authenticity', Journal of Applied Philosophy Vol: 28: pp. 308-218

Levy, N. (2011), 'Moore on Twin Earth', Erkenntnis Vol: 75 pp. 137-146.  

Levy, N. and Kitano, Y. (2011), 'We’re All Folk: An Interview with Neil Levy About Experimental Philosophy and Conceptual Analysis', Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science Vol: 19: pp. 87-98.

Levy, N. (2011), 'Changing One’s Mind: The Ethics of Memory Erasure in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', Scienza & Filosofia Vol: 5: pp. 29-49. 

Levy, N. (2011), 'Free Will and the Sciences of the Mind.' in  G. Oppy and N. Trakakis (Eds) The Antipodean Philosopher, (Plymouth: Lexington Books)

Levy, N. (2011), 'Addiction, Responsibility and Ego-Depletion', in  J. Poland and G. Graham (Eds) Addiction and Responsibility, (MIT Press)

Levy, N. and McGuire, j. (2011), 'Cognitive Enhancement and Intuitive Dualism', in  R. Langdon and C. Mackenzie (Eds) Emotions, Imagination, and Moral Reasoning, (New York: Psychology Press)

Levy, N. (2011), 'Luck and Free Will', in  J. Aguilar, A. Buckareff and K. Frankish (Eds) New Waves in Philosophy of Action, (Palgrave-MacMillan)

Levy, N. (2011), 'Neuroethics and the Extended Mind', in  J. Illes and B. Sahakian (Eds) The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Levy, N. (2011), 'Searle's Wager', AI and Society, Vol: online advance *open access*

Levy, N. (2011), 'Neuroethics: A new way of doing ethics', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 2(2) pp. 3-9 *open access*

Levy, N. (2011), 'Response to Open Peer Commentaries: Neuroethics: A new way of doing ethics', AJOB Neuroscience, Vol: 2(2) pp. W1-W4 *open access*

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I. (2011), 'The Turn for Ultimate Harm: A Reply to Fenton', Journal of Medical Ethics Vol: 37(7): pp. 441-444.  *open access*

Sandberg, A., Sinnott-Armstrong, W. and Savulescu, J. (2011), 'Cognitive Enhancement in Courts', in  J. Illes and B. J. Sahakian (Eds) Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Shea, N. (2011), 'What's Transmitted? Inherited Information', Biology & PhilosophyVol: 26(2): pp. 183-189.

Shea, N., (2011), 'Developmental Systems Theory Formulated as a Claim About Inherited Information', Philosophy of Science, Vol: 78(1): 60-82

Shea, N., (2011), 'Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol: 84(2): 307-344. [open access]

Shea, N., Pen, I. and Uller, T. (2011), 'Three epigenetic information channels and their different roles in evolution', Journal of Evolutionary Biology Vol: 24: pp. 1178-1187 [open access]

Wilkinson, D., (2011), 'A Life Worth Giving? The Threshold for Permissible Withdrawal of Life Support From Disabled Newborn Infants', The American Journal of Bioethics Vol: 11(2) [open access]

Wilkinson, D. and Savulescu, J. (2011), 'Knowing when to stop: futility in the ICU', Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology, Vol: 24(2) pp. 160-165


Erler, A. (2010), ‘Does memory modification threaten our authenticity?’, Neuroethics, Vol: 4, 235-249 [open access]

Foddy, B. and Savulescu, J., (2010). "A Liberal Account of Addiction" Philosophy,  Psychology, and Psychiatry, Vol: 17(1): 1-22. [open access]

Kahane, G. and Shackel, N. (2010), 'Methodological Issues in the Neuroscience of Moral Judgment', Mind and Language Vol: 25(5): pp. 561-582.

Levy, N. (2010), 'Preface. In (eds). Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives in Neuroethics', in  J. Giordano and B. Gordijn (Eds) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Levy, N. (2010), 'Evolutionary Ethics: A Survey', in  N. Levy (Eds) Evolutionary Ethics, (Ashgate)

Levy, N. and Linquist, S. (2010), 'Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Evolutionary Psychology', in  S. Linquist and N. Levy (Eds) Evolutionary Psychology, (Ashgate)

Levy, N. (2010), 'Psychopathy, Responsibility and the Moral/Conventional Distinction', in  L. Malatesti and J. McMillan (Eds) Responsibility and Psychopathy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Levy, N. (2010), 'Addiction and Compulsion', in  T. O’Connor and C. Sandis (Eds) A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, (Blackwell)

Levy, N. (2010), 'Appiah’s Experiments in Ethics', Neuroethics Vol: 3(3): pp. 197-200

Mars, R.B., Shea, N.J., Kolling, N. and Rushworth, M.F.S., (2010), 'Model-based analyses: Promises, pitfalls, and example applications to the study of cognitive control', Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Vol: 65(2): 252-267.

Shea, N. and Bayne, T., (2010), 'The Vegetative State and the Science of Consciousness', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Vol: 61(3): 459-484 [open access]


Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Brain-damaged patients and the moral significance of consciousness', The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol: 33(1) pp. 1-21

Kahane, G., Skene, L., Wilkinson, D. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Neuroimaging and the Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment from Patients in the Vegetative State', Medical Law Review, Vol: 17(2)

Levy, N. (2009), 'Self-Deception without Thought Experiments', in  J. Fernandez and T. Bayne (Eds) Delusions, Self-Deception and Affective Influences on Belief-formation, (New York: Psychology Press)

Levy, N., (2009), 'Neuroethics: ethics and the sciences of the mind', Philosophy Compass, Vol: 4: 69-81

Levy, N. (2009), 'Empirically Informed Moral Theory: A Sketch of the Landscape', Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Vol: 12 (1): pp. 3-8. 

Shea, N. and Heyes, C., (2009), 'Metamemory as evidence of animal consciousness: the type that does the trick', Biology & Philosophy, Vol: 25:1, pp. 95-110 [Open access]

Wilkinson, D., Kahane, G., Horne, M. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Functional neuroimaging and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from vegetative patients', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 35 pp. 508-511

Wilkinson, D., Kahane, G., Horne, M. and Savulescu, J. (2009), 'Functional neuroimaging and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from vegetative patients', Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol: 35 pp. 508-511


Levy, N. (2008), 'Restrictivism is a Covert Compatibilism', in  N. Trakakis and D. Cohen (Eds) Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility, (Cambridge Scholar Press)

Levy, N. (2008), 'Introducing Neuroethics', Neuroethics Vol: 1(1): pp. 1-8.  *OPEN ACCESS*

Levy, N., and Clarke, S. (2008), 'Neuroethics and Psychiatry', Current Opinion in Psychiatry, Vol: 21(6) pp. 568-571

Savulescu, J., Naylor, E. and Wood, D. (2008), 'Neuroscience, Neuroethics and the Law', Student British Medical Journal, Vol: February 2008

Sandberg, A. and Liao, M. (2008), 'The Normativity of Memory Modification', Neuroethics, Vol: 1(2) pp. 85-99 

Sandberg, A. and Savulescu, J. (2008), 'Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us ', Neuroethics, Vol: 1(1) pp. 31-44 

Wilkinson, D., Kahane, G. and Savulescu, J. (2008), '‘Neglected Personhood’ and Neglected Questions: Remarks on the Moral Significance of Consciousness', American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience, Vol: 8(9) pp. 31 - 33 [PDF PRE-PRINT]



The Practical Ethics Video Series makes the most important and complex debates in practical ethics accessible to a wide audience through brief interviews with high profile philosophers in Oxford.  Video interviews on this and other topics can be found on our YouTube channel.

New St Cross Special Ethics Seminar: Towards a plasticity of the mind – New-ish ethical conundrums in dementia care, treatment, and research

25 February 2021, Dr David M. Lyreskog

It is no exaggeration that the philosophical and ethical dimensions of age-related cognitive decline and dementia have been discussed for millennia, nor is it without reason. To this day, we struggle with understanding and dealing with the conceptual and ethical complexities which these conditions give rise to. And yet, we keep encountering new problems, challenging us to again rethink our relationship with neurodegenerative disease, cognitive impairment, and personhood.

In this presentation I highlight phenomena in dementia care, prevention, and treatment, which have recently gained attention in dementia care and in the literature of the same – including relational identity adoption, paradoxical lucidity, and transformative experience – and discuss their ethical, philosophical, and practical implications. I argue that, to tackle the problems that arise, we may need to adjust our way of thinking about the human mind, to better make sense of what is at stake in dementia care and to deal with the consequences. I suggest that a framework allowing a spacial and temporal “plasticity of the mind” of sorts may help us in this endeavour, and inform our decision-making in care, prevention and treatment of dementia. I also address some of the potential issues with adopting such an approach, and discuss how to move on from here.

New St Cross Special Ethics Seminar: The Neuroscience of a Life Well-Lived

20 January 2021, Professor Morten L. Kringelbach

Recent advances in whole-brain modelling have helped stratify the heterogeneity of anhedonia across neuropsychiatric disorders, and the key underlying components of the pleasure network. I will show how modelling of neuroimaging data from diverse hedonic routes such as psychedelics, meditation and music could potentially offer new insights not only into hedonia but potentially also eudaimonia. To this end, we have recently demonstrated the hierarchical organisation of consciousness in over thousand people, and the crucial role played by rare long-range exceptions to a fundamental exponential distance rule of brain connectivity. These processes are controlling the information cascade in the turbulent-like brain dynamics necessary for optimal orchestration of behaviour necessary a life well-lived. This has direct implications for getting a handle on eudaimonia and well-being which are difficult to study empirically, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of anhedonia in neuropsychiatric disorders.

New St Cross Special Ethics Seminar: Affect, Value and Problems Assessing Decision-Making Capacity

23 November 2020, Assoc. Professor Jennifer Hawkins

Valid informed consent to treatment requires that the person giving consent have decision-making capacity or (what amounts to the same thing) must be mentally competent. To date the most influential model for both conceptualizing what capacity is, and for assessing it clinically, is the “four abilities model” developed by Thomas Grisso and Paul Appelbaum. Despite its popularity, however, this framework is flawed. It not infrequently delivers the wrong verdict in certain kinds of cases involving strong emotions and/or problematic values. Given that we want to (a) avoid objectionable forms of paternalism (b) avoid labeling as incompetent those who simply have unusual values and (c) avoid assuming that mental illness entails lack of capacity, it can seem as if there is no good solution to the problems posed by these cases. Nonetheless, there is a way we can proceed while avoiding these moral pitfalls. In this paper I first offer a better way of conceptualizing what it is we are trying to determine in capacity assessments, and then sketch an alternative way to assess capacity that avoids the moral pitfalls while yielding better, more plausible results in the problem cases.

Human Brain Organoids: the Science, the Ethics

On 1 June 2018, the International Neuroethics Society (INS) and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities at the University of Oxford co-hosted a symposium on human brain organoids. Neuroscientists, clinicians, lawyers and philosophers gathered to hear lectures given by Madeline Lancaster, Julian Savulescu, and INS President Hank Greely.  The lectures were followed by invigorating discussion and debate on the science and the ethics associated with this new technology. You can find videos of the lectures below and an accompanying summary of the issues discussed on the INS website.