Brain research has made great strides in recent decades. With new technology, we can detect brain activity underlying perception, thought, emotion and decision-making: we can almost read a person’s mind. What does this mean for our image of human beings as moral, reflective creatures with freedom to choose how to act?
Some scientists hope that scientific progress will not only provide a complete, physical description of human behaviour, but will lead to robots that are smarter than humans and that could even have moral intelligence. Others claim that the human mind and consciousness cannot be reduced to physiological mechanisms. Instead, they worry about the psychological and social consequences of a mechanistic view of humans.