Ask a Bioethicist: Blame It On The Brain

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Continuing a weekly series where we tackle thorny bioethical issues, Nita Farahany, Professor of Law and Philosophy and Professor of Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University, discusses today's topic: Blame it on the brain.

If something about your brain causes you to behave badly, is it really your fault? Should we judge a person less harshly if they're neurologically predisposed to lie, cheat, steal, or become addicted? What do you think? Comment here.

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [3]


Malnutrition (ie, eating only rice -- or many baby formulas -- for the first few years of life) causes the brain to become especially faulty. Since I learned that (from the UNDP, which spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year to combat this self-inflicted retardation) I have more empathy for the humans who do things like walk into traffic etc.

Mar. 26 2013 10:53 AM
john from office

The details in this rape are disturbing. Why did the other kids at the various parties, the other females there, do something to help the drunk girl. It says alot about the kids we are raising.

Mar. 26 2013 10:52 AM

In his SOTU address, President Obama announced his plan for brain mapping - this day and age's "man on the moon" (cold war) initiative started by JFK.
I heard the clip play then some neuro-scientists discussing: the host asked the scientists "How much do we know about the brain?" Very little, they both answered. So who in the Ivory Tower possibly knows anything about answering this question? We are doing an awful lot in the realm of science in ignorance and we're going to pay for it later if we don't slow down!!!

Mar. 26 2013 10:36 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.