Current neuroethics can be characterized best as empirical neuroethics: it is strongly empirically oriented in that it not only includes empirical findings from neuroscience but also searches for applications within neuroscience. This, however, neglects the social and political contexts which could be subject to a future social neuroethics. In addition, methodological issues need to be considered as in theoretical neuroethics. The focus in this article is on two such methodological issues: (1) the analysis of the different levels and their inferences among each other which is exemplified by the inference of consciousness from the otherwise purely neuronal data in patients with vegetative state and (2) the problem of linking descriptive and normative concepts in a non-reductive and non-inferential way for which I suggest the mutual contextualization between both concepts. This results in a methodological strategy that can be described as contextual fact-norm iterativity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas