Fourth International School On Mind, Brain And Education

2009, August 1-5

Educational Neurosciences
and Ethics

Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: MarĂ­a Lourdes Majdalani

Abstract: Kurt W. Fischer
Harvard Graduate School of Education, USA
Professor. Graduate School of Education. Harvard University

Ethics in Mind, Biology, and Education: The MBE journal and the learn Internet hub
Ethics is a central issue in the movement to connect biology and cognitive science with education. Values and ethics become especially obvious in applications to learning and teaching and in use of biological interventions. A central issue that has been neglected in the field is the biological bases of ethical behavior, including ethical differences between people. An important confusion in the field that muddies arguments is the confounding of development with morality or goodness, or of empirical/causal analysis with normative analysis. A common consequence of this confounding is that a developmentally advanced position or stage is assumed to be better or morally superior to a developmentally early position or stage.
For the journal Mind, Brain, and Education we plan to have a special section that focuses on issues of ethics and neuroscience, including analyses of the biological bases of ethical behavior and discussion of how to distinguish goodness and morality on the one hand from developmental advance or sophistication on the other.
Besides the journal, we expect to launch an internet hub called Learn: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education, which will serve as an information and communication center for teachers and educators to facilitate knowledge and use of research about biology, cognitive science, and education. Ethics, neuroscience, and the separation of empirical from normative analysis will be important themes in Learn as well.