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Authenticity, Narrative and Neural Modification

Applicant Leuenberger Muriel
Number 172100
Funding scheme Doc.CH (until 2020)
Research institution Departement Philosophie & Medienwissenschaft Philosophisches Seminar Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.03.2017 - 31.08.2020
Approved amount 216'231.00
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Keywords (7)

neural intervention; genealogy; authenticity; narrative; Deep Brain Stimulation; neuroethics; medical ethics

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Von Psychotherapie bis zu Hirnimplantaten verfügen wir heutzutage über ein breites Spektrum an technischen und nicht-technischen Methoden, um unser Gehirn gezielt zu verändern. Angesichts dieser Veränderungen des Selbst stellt sich für viele die Frage, ob sie dann noch sie selbst sind - ob sie noch authentisch sind - oder ob sie es dadurch werden können. In diesem Projekt wird untersucht, was sich unter Authentizität verstehen lässt und was gezielte Veränderungen unseres Gehirns für die Authentizität bedeuten.
Lay summary

Das Konzept der Authentizität wird zunächst anhand seiner Entwicklungsgeschichte erklärt. Mit dieser genealogischen Methode zeigen sich die verschiedenen Interpretationen und Funktionen, die dem Konzept im Verlaufe der Geschichte zugeschrieben wurden und die sich auch in der heutigen Verwendung des Begriffs niedergeschlagen haben. Darauf basierend wird ein eigener Ansatz der Authentizität entwickelt, der den Funktionen des Konzepts gerecht wird, unseren Intuitionen entspricht und der an den Narrativismus anschliesst, nach dem wir unser Leben über ein Narrativ, oder eine Lebensgeschichte organisieren und verstehen.

Im zweiten Teil werden die Methoden untersucht, wie wir unser Gehirn und damit unser Selbst verändern können. Dabei werden grundlegende Richtungen unterschieden - beispielsweise können solche Veränderungen sehr abrupt oder graduell geschehen. Im Hinblick auf das narrativistische Authentizitätskonzept wird schliesslich beurteilt, inwiefern gezielte neuronale Veränderungen die Authentizität beeinflussen.

Diese philosophische Untersuchung des Zusammenhangs von Authentizität und der gezielten Veränderung unseres Gehirns kann dazu beitragen, die Einflüsse neuronaler Modifikationen besser zu verstehen und einen angemessenen Umgang damit zu finden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 06.10.2020

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
In Defense of Narrative AuthenticityResponse to the Discussion of Pugh et al. and Nyholm and O’Neill
LEUENBERGER MURIEL (2020), In Defense of Narrative AuthenticityResponse to the Discussion of Pugh et al. and Nyholm and O’Neill, in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 29(4), 656-667.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dieter Thomä / Fachbereich Philosophie / Universität St. Gallen Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Retraite des Seminars der theoretischen Philosophie Basel Talk given at a conference Does Memory Modification Threaten Narrative Authenticity? 29.08.2020 Castasegna, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
The Ethics of Experimental Deep Brain Stimulation – Future Directions Talk given at a conference Deep Brain Stimulation: Two Kinds of Effects on Authenticity 15.01.2020 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Leuenberger Muriel;
Kolloquium Institute for Bio- and Medical Ethics University of Basel Individual talk Shifting Perspectives – Neural Interventions and Self-image 10.12.2019 Basel, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
Work in Progress Seminar (Philosophy Colloquium) University of Illinois Chicago Individual talk Neural Interventions – Shaking the Foundations of Authenticity 25.10.2019 Chicago, United States of America Leuenberger Muriel;
International Neuroethics Society 2019 Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Neural Interventions – Shaking the Foundations of Authenticity 17.10.2019 Chicago, United States of America Leuenberger Muriel;
Kolloquium Philosophisches Seminar Universität St. Gallen Individual talk In Defense of Narrative Authenticity 25.09.2019 St. Gallen, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
Retraite des Seminars der theoretischen Philosophie Basel Talk given at a conference Neural Interventions – Shaking the Foundations of Authenticity 02.09.2019 Castasegna, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
Varieties of Non-Propositional Content Talk given at a conference Fictions and the Narrative Self 11.06.2019 Basel, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
SINe – INS 11th International Scientific Conference on Neuroethics Talk given at a conference Narrative Authenticity and Deep Brain Stimulation 15.05.2019 Mailand, Italy Leuenberger Muriel;
Kolloquium Philosophisches Seminar Basel Individual talk In Defense of Narrative Authenticity 06.03.2019 Basel, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
Work in Progress Seminar (Philosophy Colloquium) University of Illinois Chicago Individual talk Self-Steadying as a Function of True Self Approaches to Authenticity. A Model-Based Genealogy 26.10.2018 Chicago, United States of America Leuenberger Muriel;
The Contingent World: Genealogy, Epistemology, Politics Talk given at a conference Genealogy and Rousseau’s Second Discourse 06.06.2018 Basel, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
Retraite des Seminars der theoretischen Philosophie Basel Talk given at a conference Self-Steadying as a Function of True Self Notions of Authenticity, a Model-Based Genealogy 24.05.2018 Castasegna, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;
Kolloquium Philosophisches Seminar Basel Individual talk Authenticity's Precursors - From Apollo's Temple to Sincerity 22.11.2017 Basel, Switzerland Leuenberger Muriel;


Awards

Title Year
Award for outstanding poster presentation at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the International Neuroethics Society, Chicago. 2019

Abstract

The development of ever more potent and specific methods for neural modification, for instance Deep Brain Stimulation or psychotropic drugs, poses a challenge for our self-image and requires a careful and responsible handling. On this note the influence of neural modifications on authenticity is seen as an important topic. In the current research the concept of authenticity is mainly discussed in the context of enhancement and psychotropic drugs, tough often authenticity is only covered incidentally and with a simplified definition. In this doctoral thesis neural modifications with regard to authenticity are investigated thoroughly and based on a profound analysis of the concept of authenticity. In the first part a genealogy of authenticity will be compiled, to show how the concept developed and became a virtue as well as to illustrate the different functions and interpretations that have been ascribed to the concept. Moreover, authenticity will be differentiated from related concepts such as autonomy or identity via this historical exposition. Based on this investigation a narrativistic approach to authenticity will be developed, which does justice to its functions and to our intuitions on the concept. The second part will cover a discussion on neural modifications. Following an overview what neural modifications encompass and how the different methods influence a person and his/her brain they will be characterized along frame concepts such as naturalness, innovation or enhancement. The third part will combine the results of the first two parts to asses which modifications and which properties of these modifications support or threaten authenticity as understood in the narrativistic approach and why we consider some neural modifications as unproblematic whereas others are perceived as controversial.
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