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The Memory ProcessNeuroscientific and Humanistic Perspectives$
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Suzanne Nalbantian, Paul M. Matthews, and James L. McClelland

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014571

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014571.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Neuroethics of Memory

The Neuroethics of Memory

(p.233) 11 The Neuroethics of Memory
The Memory Process

Walter Glannon

The MIT Press

This chapter considers the actual and potential ways in which manipulating memory can affect critical functions of our capacity to recall the past. The study of the molecular mechanisms of different memory systems has revealed promising interventions for both therapy and enhancement through the years. It is a noncontroversial issue that memory is an essential part of human survival; by linking the past to the present and future, memory also becomes essential to personal identity and the experience of persisting through time. Additionally, memory is a critical component of our moral sensibility because it generates emotions such as shame and regret for past misdeeds. A number of ethical issues are raised in this chapter regarding the pharmacological modification of memory and diagnostic brain imaging in cases of criminal negligence since the former can have untoward effects on autobiographical memory and the latter presents considerable ambiguity in interpreting images of the brain and questions about the inferences we can draw from them about guilty states of mind.

Keywords:   molecular mechanisms, memory systems, therapy, personal identity, human survival, moral sensibility, pharmacological modification of memory, diagnostic brain imaging, autobiographical memory

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