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Severe Brain Injury, Neuroethics & Disability Rights: Why the Sciences & Humanities must be in Conversation

Joseph Fins, Old Dominion Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council and Department of Classics

November 16, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

Humanities Council
Portrait of Joseph Fins

Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of consciousness heighten the possibility of recovery but also raise value questions that require more than scientific expertise. To address the challenge of covert consciousness, the promise and possibility of emerging therapeutics, and ensure the promotion of disability rights, neuroscience must be in conversation with the humanities. Drawing upon his experience with novel trials such as the use of deep brain stimulation in severe brain injury, Dr. Fins will emphasize the importance of epistemic pluralism – drawing on the sciences and humanities – when addressing medical advances in research and practice.

Joseph J. Fins is an Old Dominion Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council and Department of Classics in Fall 2023. He is the founding Chair of the Ethics Committee of New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center where he is an Attending Physician and Director of Medical Ethics. The author of over 500 papers, chapters, essays, and books, his most recent volume is Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics, and the Struggle for Consciousness (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy and currently serves on the New York State Task Force on Life and the Lawby gubernatorial appointment.

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