For several decades now, neuroscientists have used technology to produce images of the brain in action.  But what do such pictures tell us?  Should they change the way we think about personal identity and free will?  Can they reveal whether a person is capable of making moral decisions, or whether a person is telling the truth?  If so, brain imaging technology seems to hold great promise for the criminal justice system.  However, allowing brain scans to be used as evidence in trials for conviction or sentencing raises many questions about the nature of responsibility, the nature of fairness, and the public perception of science and technology.

The 2011 LSSP symposium, Ethics & the Brain, will bring to campus seven leading researchers from the fields of neuroscience, law, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and theology to discuss these issues. 

The symposium will take place on the flagship campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.  It is free and open to the university community and the public and is designed to encourage dialogue across methodologies and backgrounds.


Symposium Information


Affiliated Events

1050H Honors seminar: Ethics and the Brain
University of Missouri

Film Series
MU Museum of Art & Archaeology

  • A Clockwork Orange, February 17

Trolley problem reenactment
University of Missouri

Film series with discussion
Ragtag Cinema

  • Cold Souls, March 9
  • In Search of Memory, March 16

“Controlling Heredity: The American Eugenics Crusade 1870-1940”: University of Missouri Libraries Exhibit
Ellis Library, University of Missouri

“Visions of Transparency: The Human Body and Social Order,"Ellis Library, University of Missouri

  • by Stefani Engelstein
  • opening lecture for Eugenics exhibit

Brain-research poster session
Life Sciences Center
More on poster submission...

American Society for Neurochemistry
42nd Annual Meeting

St. Louis, MO

Journalism ethics mini-conference
School of Journalism


For more information,
contact Stefani Engelstein at EngelsteinS@missouri.edu
or Karla Carter at Carterka@missouri.edu

Weekend Symposium ScheduleMarch 18-20, 2011


7th Annual Life Sciences and Society Symposium
Series: Beyond Disciplinarity
Ethics & the Brain

click for a printable PDF of the Schedule

Saturday, March 19

10:00-10:25 am
Registration, Coffee, Book Exhibit Browsing
Conservation Hall Foyer; Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building

10:30-11:30 am
Adrian Raine, Neurocriminology: Neuroethical and Neurolegal Implications
Conservation Hall Foyer; Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building (joint LSSP/Saturday Morning Science Presentation)

11:35 am-12:35 pm
Adam Kolber, The Experiential Future of the Law
Conservation Hall Foyer; Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building

12:35-1:40 pm
Buffet lunch
McQuinn Atrium; Bond Life Sciences Center

1:45 -2:45 pm
Nancey Murphy, Why We Can’t Blame Our Neurons
Monsanto Auditorium; Bond Life Sciences Center

2:50 -3:50 pm
Panel discussion with Adrian Raine, Adam Kolber, and Nancey Murphy
Monsanto Auditorium; Bond Life Sciences Center

7:00-9:00 pm
Keynote Address: Steven Pinker, “A History of Violence”
Missouri Theater (203 S. Ninth St)

Sunday, March 20

9:00-9:55 am
Patricia Churchland, How the Mind Makes Morals
Monsanto Auditorium; Bond Life Sciences Center

10:00-10:55 am
Joseph Dumit, How to Do Things with Brain Images
Monsanto Auditorium; Bond Life Sciences Center

11:00-11:25 am
Coffee & Sandwich Break, Book Exhibit Browsing
Monsanto Auditorium Foyer; Bond Life Sciences Center

11:30 am-12:25 pm
Jesse Prinz, Getting Mad About the Bad: Emotion and the Moral Brain
Monsanto Auditorium; Bond Life Sciences Center

12:30-1:15 pm
Panel with Patricia Churchland, Joseph Dumit, and Jesse Prinz
Monsanto Auditorium; Bond Life Sciences Center

Sponsors & Partners

Mizzou Advantage: Understanding and Managing Transformative and Disruptive Technologies MU Libraries
Mizzou Advantage: Media of the Future The Smith/Patterson Lecture Series, School of Journalism
Mizzou Advantage: One Health, One Medicine MU Center for Arts & Humanities
MU School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Group
MU School of Journalism Center for Health Ethics
MU College of Arts and Science MU Honors College
MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Ragtag Cinema
MU School of Law MU Libraries
Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitor Fund
Saturday Morning Science
Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence The Columbia Tribune
MU Office of Research MU Museum of Art & Archaeology
Bond Life Sciences Center MU Conference Office
MU Conference Office © 2010
The Sixth Annual Life Sciences & Society Symposia