Changing priorities

Annu Rev Neurosci. 1981:4:1-15. doi: 10.1146/


In the context of today's mounting global problems the relative demand for medical, educational, and related social benefits that derive from the neurosciences is diminished. At the same time the human value spin-offs of brain research are thrust into a strategic position of top concern because of their key role as criteria or policy priorities and decision-making guidelines. Recent conceptual developments in the mind-brain sciences rejecting reductionism and mechanistic determinism on the one side, and dualisms on the other, clear the way for a rational approach to the theory and prescription of values and to natural fusion of science and religion. Science can be upheld as the best route to an increased understanding and report with the forces that made and move the universe and created man. The outlines of the value-belief system emerge that include an ultimate respect for nature and the evolving quality of the biosphere, which, if implemented, would set in motion the kind of social change needed to lead us out of the viscious spirals of increasing population, pollution, poverty, energy demands, etc. The strategic importance of neuroscience and the central role of prevailing concepts of the mind-brain relation to all of the foregoing remain evident throughout, as does also the direct relevance of efforts to bring added insight and substantiation of these mind-brain concepts through further advances in brain research.

Publication types

  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neurophysiology / trends*
  • Philosophy*
  • Research*
  • United States