Neuroethics of Caring

Workshop at the Brocher Centre, Geneva, Switzerland, November, 2012


  • Bennett Helm (Franklin & Marshall) and Jeffrey Seidman (Vassar), “Working philosophical conceptions of caring”
  • Agnieszka Jaworska (UCR) and Kate Rankin (UCSF), “Frontotemporal dementia and loss of the capacity to care”
  • James Blair (NIH), “Caring for the distress of others: Neurobiology, developmental implications and dysfunction in psychopathy”
  • Gary Watson (USC), “Psychopathy and the failure of diachronic agency”
  • David Sander (Geneva), “Caring as a determinant of emotion?”
  • John O’Doherty (CalTech), “Neural mechanisms underlying valuation and decision-making in social contexts”
  • Peter Hobson (UCL) and Jessica Hobson (UCL), “On caring: A perspective from autism”
  • Matthew Ratcliffe (Durham), “Intersubjectivity, care and the experience of possibility”
  • Morten Kringelbach (Oxford), Title TBA
  • Kevin Mulligan (Geneva), Wrap-up session


  • James Blair. Chief of the Unit on Affective Cognitive Neuroscience, National Institute of Mental Health, USA. The neuro-cognitive systems mediating affect in mood and anxiety disorders; psychopathy.
  • John O’Doherty. Professor of Psychology, California Institute of Technology, USA. Functional neuroanatomy of the human emotions, motivation, reward, and social cognition. Lesions in the reward network.
  • Bennett Helm. Professor of Philosophy and Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind, Franklin & Marshall College, USA. Moral psychology; relevance of emotions, caring, and loving for concept of a person.
  • Peter Hobson. Tavistock Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, University College London and the Tavistock Clinic and the Institute of Child Health. Psychology of autistic spectrum disorders.
  • Jessica Hobson. Clinical Psychologist and a Senior Research Fellow, Tavistock Clinic and the Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, University College London. Early typical social development and autism.
  • Agnieszka Jaworska. Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of California Riverside, USA. Moral philosophy, philosophy of action, medical ethics; the relationships between caring, valuing, practical rationality, autonomy, and moral status; deficits in agency.
  • Morten Kringelbach. Senior Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, and Professor of Neuroscience at Aarhus University, Denmark, and Director of the TrygFonden Research Group. Fundamental neural mechanisms underlying human sensory and social pleasures; depression; eating disorders; problems of parent-child attachment.
  • Kevin Mulligan. Chair of the Philosophy Department, University of Geneva, Deputy Director, Swiss NCCR in Affective Sciences. Connections between the emotions and the metaphysics of value.
  • Matthew Ratcliffe. Head of the Philosophy Department, Durham University, UK. Philosophy of emotion; emotions, feelings, and moods; the phenomenology of emotional experience, depression.
  • Katherine Rankin. Associate Professor of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center. Changes in neuroanatomy, personality, and social behavior associated with dementia, especially frontotemporal dementia.
  • David Sander. Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Geneva; Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Emotion Elicitation and Expression; Scientific Coordinator of the NCCR in Affective Sciences. Cognitive mechanisms of appraisal and how they elicit emotions and modulate perception, attention, and memory.
  • Jeffrey Seidman. Associate Professor of Philosophy, Vassar College, USA. Moral philosophy, philosophy of action, theory of practical rationality; the relationship between caring, valuing, and practical rationality.
  • Gary Watson. Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law, University of Southern California, USA. Moral psychology, philosophy of action, moral responsibility; the relationship between valuing and agency; agency and responsibility in addiction and psychopathy.


  • Bernard Baertschi. Maître d’Enseignement et de Recherche, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Geneva Medical School. Neuroethics; relations between values and emotions, moral status.
  • Julien-Amos Deonna. Professeur boursier du Fonds National Suisse , Department of Philosophy, University of Geneva. Philosophy of emotion, emotions and ethics, analysis of shame and guilt.
  • Didier Grandjean. Professor of Psychology, Head of Neuroscience of Emotion and Affective Dynamics Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Geneva. Verbally accessible representation of emotion; affective disorders, depression.
  • Samia Hurst. Professeure boursière du Fonds National Suisse, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Geneva Medical School. Clinical ethics; caring in the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Theodor Landis. Professor emeritus, former Head of Neurology, University Hospital of Geneva. Cerebral lesions (prosopagnosia, body scheme, etc.), emotional word recognition.
  • Christian Lüscher. Professor, Departments of Neurosciences and Clinical Neurology, University of Geneva Medical School. Director of the Addiction and Dopamine System Laboratory. Cellular mechanisms of drug reinforcement, dependence, and addiction.
  • Jan Slaby. Junior Professor of Philosophy, Free University of Berlin, Germany. Philosophy of emotion, phenomenology, philosophy of psychiatry and neuroscience; the languages of emotion.
  • Fabrice Teroni. Post-Doc Assistant, Bern University, and Associate Researcher, Swiss NCCR in Affective Sciences.
  • Patrik Vuilleumier. Professor, Departments of Neurosciences and Clinical Neurology, University of Geneva Medical School; Director of the Laboratory for Neurology and Imaging of Cognition. Behavioral neurology and the neurobiological substrates of cognitive processes; how emotional signal processing in limbic brain regions (e.g., amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex) influences perceptual, attentional, and mnesic processes.