7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 3FV381

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Public Health A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G)
Finalised by
The Educational Board of Medicine, 12 December 2017
Responsible department
Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences

Entry requirements

120 credits

Learning outcomes

The goal of the course is to provide knowledge of neuroethical theories and concepts that apply to (a) ethical questions arising in connection with developments in neuroscience and neurotechnology, and (b) questions concerning how knowledge of the brain’s functional architecture and its evolution can deepen our understanding of the evolution of moral thinking and judgment.

After the completed course, we expect the student to be able to:

  • give an account of the relevance of neuroscience to understanding the development of moral judgment;
  • critically analyse different neuroethical approaches to central philosophical problems, such as whether the human being can have a free will, or moral responsibility;
  • give an account of some ethical problems that arise in connection with applications of neuroscientific or neurotechnological advances, e.g. new techniques to measure brain activities, new methods for cognitive enhancement, or new drug uses in psychopharmacology;
  • give an account of ethical problems that arise in clinical contexts, such as how to assess autonomy or decision-capacity in patients with neuro-degenerative disorders;
  • write an independent essay in which a coherent and constructive – i.e. not merely descriptive – argumentation is presented concerning some freely chosen neuroethical question.


Different types of neuroethical issues will be discussed during the course. The course focuses both on applied neuroethics, i.e. ethical questions that arise from neuroscientific or neurotechnological advances; and on fundamental neuroethics, i.e. questions concerning how knowledge of the brain’s functional architecture and its evolution can deepen our understanding of human thought, including moral thought and judgment. The course also includes clinical perspectives, e.g. to what extent a patient with a neuro-degenerative disorder suffers from reduced capacity for decision-making, or reduced autonomy, or when a person with dementia can give an informed consent to participate in scientific studies.


The teaching will be given in the form of web-based lectures. This is an entirely web-based course (distance education)


Examination will be in the form of individual essays.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Other directives

This course replaces 3FV236 Neuroethics.