Neuroethics, painience, and neurocentric criteria for the moral treatment of animals

Camb Q Healthc Ethics. 2014 Apr;23(2):163-72. doi: 10.1017/S0963180113000698. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


Neuroscience affords knowledge that can be leveraged in the ontological valuation of individuals, groups, and species. Sociocultural sentiments, norms, and mores may impede embracing such knowledge to revise moral attitudes, ethics, and policies. We argue that the practices of neuroethics will be valuable in that they ground ethico-legal discourse in (1) naturalistic philosophy; (2) the current epistemological capital of neuroscience; (3) the issues, problems, and solutions arising in and from neuroscientific research and its applications; and 4) the use of neurocentric criteria-such as painience-to define and resolve ethical decisions regarding attitudes toward and treatment of nonhuman animals.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Experimentation / ethics*
  • Animal Welfare / ethics*
  • Animal Welfare / history
  • Animal Welfare / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Animal Welfare / trends
  • Animals
  • Concept Formation
  • Consciousness
  • Emotions
  • Ethics, Research
  • European Union
  • Germany
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Moral Obligations*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurosciences*
  • Nociception
  • Pain Perception* / physiology
  • Pain*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship