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Grant number like: RZ-50892-08

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Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD 21218-2608)
Hilary Bok (Project Director: November 2007 to June 2012)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2008 – 8/31/2011

Free Will and Moral Responsibility: Implications of Advances in Neuroscience

The writing of essays to be compiled into a book addressing neuroscientific contributions to our understanding of human freedom and responsibility. (30 months)

Philosophers have argued about the nature of moral responsibility for centuries. While they disagree on many aspects of this topic, most agree on one point: that moral responsibility requires the capacity to step back, think about what to do, reach a decision and act on it - that is, the capacity for self-governance. Recently, neuroscientists have been exploring the nature and biological underpinnings of this capacity, and the ways in which it can break down. Yet the philosophical literature on moral responsibility often fails to engage in any systematic way with neuroscientists' work on this topic. We propose a collaborative research project, involving a small group of philosophers, bioethicists and neuroscientists, the aim of which is to bridge this gap.