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The ethical relevance of the unconscious
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics. Brain Project Sub-Project 12, Uppsala University, Uppsala.; Biogem, Genetic Research Centre, Ariano Irpino.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3298-7829
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics. Brain Project Sub-Project 12, Uppsala University, Uppsala.
2017 (English)In: Philosophy Ethics and Humanities in Medicine, ISSN 1747-5341, E-ISSN 1747-5341, Vol. 12, no 11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Ethical analyses of disorders of consciousness traditionally focus on residual awareness. Going one step further, this paper explores the potential ethical relevance of the unawareness retained by patients with disorders of consciousness, focusing specifically on the ethical implications of the description of the unconscious provided by recent scientific research.

Methods

A conceptual methodology is used, based on the review and analysis of relevant scientific literature on the unconscious and the logical argumentation in favour of the ethical conclusions.

Results

Two conditions (experiential wellbeing and having interests) that are generally considered critical components in the ethical discussion of patients with disorders of consciousness might arguably be both conscious and unconscious.

Conclusions

The unconscious, as well as consciousness, should be taken into account in the ethical discussions of patients with disorders of consciousness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 12, no 11
Keyword [en]
Brain, Consciousness, Disorders of consciousness, The unconscious, Ethics, Neuroethics
National Category
Ethics Philosophy Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Neurology Psychiatry
Research subject
Neuroscience; Neurology; Ethics; Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-337475DOI: 10.1186/s13010-017-0053-9ISI: 000418943300001PubMedID: 29284489OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-337475DiVA, id: diva2:1169722
Projects
The Human Brain Project, Grant agreement 720,270 (HBP SGA1)
Funder
EU, Horizon 2020, 720,270 (HBP SGA1)
Available from: 2017-12-29 Created: 2017-12-29 Last updated: 2018-04-06Bibliographically approved

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