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Two questions for José Manuel Muñoz

Dr. José Manuel Muñoz is a philosopher and biologist who, among other topics, explores the ethical implications of neurotechnology and recent regulatory efforts. In his visit to NEBA, Dr. Muñoz focused on a recent article co-authored with José Marinaro titled "Neurorights as reconceptualized human rights." Find below his answers to our two questions.


What is problematic about rigths inflation?  


The risk of rights inflation arises mainly from not distinguishing between human interests and moral rights, on a universal scale. Ideally, human rights should correspond to fundamental human interests rather than to morally desirable values. If every value or moral right at a given time becomes a human right, human rights documents run the risk of not being taken seriously, of being seen as something diffuse or subject to temporality, and not as they were conceived: a timeless legacy consisting of a series of rights almost "carved in stone" (if I may use the metaphor) to the extent that they are inherent to human nature and dignity itself. This does not mean that rights cannot be reformed or even expanded, but this must be something deeply studied and reflected upon, and should not be taken lightly.


Are all proposed neurorights on equal terms for reconceptualization?    


In principle, yes. Freedom of thought, privacy, integrity, equal opportunities, non-discrimination... All of them are rights that can be reconceptualized to include the protections provided in neurorights proposals. The only exception, perhaps, is that of personal identity, a neuro-right that it is not clear that it could be integrated as part of the right to legal personality, since the concept of identity is very diffuse and can refer to cultural, sexual, and ethnic identities, among others. Within philosophy of law much remains to be done in relation to the notion of identity.

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