The Nobel Laureate Illya Prigogine compares the recent breakthroughs
in human biology to the major changes that occurred when the Neolithic
period succeeded the Paleolithic, 12,000 years ago. Although there is
disagreement about the meaning of these changes, most opposing views
recognize that a “major transformation” took place. Some
interpret the recent breakthroughs in neuroscience as the first step
toward “our posthuman future” whereas others see the
consequences of these achievements as the end of humankind. Genomics and
neuroscience are the main fields that, at this point, give rise to such a
debate, some authors stating that neuroscience raises even greater
anthropological and ethical challenges than does genomics. This article
focuses on neuroscience. Its main object is to critically assess these
diverging opinions on the impact of neuroscience and to determine whether
both sides are not telling us something important about ourselves and how
neuroscience could enlighten healthcare ethics.
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