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Timothy Brown | Reflections on Qualitative Research in Neurotechnology

September 23, 2021

Dr. Brown earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Washington, after earning a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  He is also a founding member of and long-term contributor to the Neuroethics Thrust within the Center for Neurotechnology at UW. He is also leads diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts with the International Neuroethics Society.
Dr. Brown works at the intersection of biomedical ethics, philosophy of technology, (black/latinx/queer) feminist thought, and aesthetics. His research explores the potential impact of neurotechnologies—systems that record and stimulate the nervous system—on end users’ sense of agency and embodiment. His work also interrogates neurotechnologies for their potential to exacerbate or create social inequities, in order to establish best practices for engineers. Finally, Dr. Brown’s approach to research is interdisciplinary, embedded, and relies on mixed methods; his work on interdisciplinary is aimed at encouraging deeper collaborations between humanists and engineers in the future.


In 2011, an interdisciplinary group of investigators established the Center for Neurotechnology (CNT) at the University of Washington. Their aim was to develop the next generation of technologies to intervene in brain function, addressing motor and cognitive impairments like spinal cord injury and stroke. They also wanted to anticipate the moral and ethical questions raised by their technologies—they invited philosophers to play a key role in the CNT as the “Neuroethics Thrust.” In this talk, I give an overview of the Neuroethics Thrust’s use of qualitative methods to encourage, conduct, and measure the impact of ethics engagement within the CNT.

April 20, 2022

Slides from the presentation available here.