From Covert Consciousness to Human Rights: Neuroethics and the Neuroscience of Disorders of Consciousness

  • Speaker
  • Joseph J. Fins, M.D.Weill Cornell Medical College
Date & Time

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Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite anyone interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
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In this lecture, Dr. Joseph J. Fins will address how progress in the neurosciences (neuroimaging and neuroprosthetics) has revolutionized our understanding of disorders of consciousness and opened up the possibility of restoring functional communication for these patients. A worthy scientific pursuit, he will argue that catalyzing a re-emergent voice from covert consciousness is a moral imperative, which can help reintegrate patients into the nexus of home and community. As such, this effort is a civil rights issue for a population long marginalized. But for rights to come to mind, patients will need greater access to medical care, research and commitment from the neuroscience community.

About the Speaker

Joseph J. Fins is The E. William Davis, Jr. M.D., Professor of Medical Ethics and co-director of the Consortium for the Advanced Study of Brain Injury at Weill Cornell Medicine, as well as Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar in Medicine, Bioethics and the Law at Yale Law School. He is a Member of the Institute of Medicine, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and author of Rights Come to Mind (Cambridge University Press).

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