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Mind Wars

Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century

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SOURCE: Book cover

About the book

Reviews and press coverage

About the author

Buy the book

About the book

A provocative book that reads like an edge-of-your seat investigation into the intertwining worlds of science, technology, and government, Mind Wars is the first ever systematic overview of brain research and national security.

Jonathan Moreno unearths a multitude of questions about federal defense agencies’ interest in the burgeoning field of neuroscience and describes the many fascinating ethical and policy issues that may emerge from this relationship.

Moreno, one of the best-known bioethicists in the US, calls for the scientific community to be more engaged in dealing with the unintended consequences of their work. As new kinds of weapons are added to the arsenal already at the disposal of fallible human leaders and their war fighters, we need to be sure we understand how they are used.

Reviews

Mind Wars updates [Moreno's] earlier accounts of the military’s wars on the mind to bring us chilling news of Darpa’s latest projects.  To these he is an excellent and authoritative guide.” -The Guardian

“Imagine a future conflict in which one side can scan from a distance the brains of soldiers on the other side and learn what they may be planning or whether they are confident or fearful. In a crisply written book, University of Virginia ethicist Moreno notes that military contractors have been researching this possibility, as well as the use of electrodes embedded in soldiers’ and pilots’ brains to enhance their fighting ability. Moreno (Is There an Ethicist in the House?) details the Pentagon’s interest in such matters, including studies of paranormal phenomena like ESP, going back several decades. Readers learn that techniques like hypersonic sound and targeted energetic pulses to disable soldiers are close to being used in the field, and even have everyday applications that make “targeted advertising” an understatement. Despite the book’s title, Moreno doesn’t limit his discussion to brain-related research; he explains the military’s investigation of how to enhance soldiers’ endurance and reaction time in combat as well as various nonlethal disabling technologies. The ethical implications are addressed throughout the book, but the author leaves substantive discussion to his praiseworthy last chapter. ” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Moreno asks the tough ethical and policy questions that arise from using knowledge about how the human brain functions. . . . Accessibly written. . . . Given the topic’s provocative nature, this is recommended for all science and bioethics collections.”—Library Journal

About the author

Jonathan D. Moreno is a Senior Fellow at American Progress, where he edits the magazine, Science Progress.

He is one of 13 Penn Integrates Knowledge university professors at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also professor of medical ethics and health policy, of history and sociology of science, and of philosophy. In 2008-09 he served as a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team.

Moreno is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences and is a national associate of the National Research Council. He has served as a senior staff member for three presidential advisory commissions, including the current bioethics commission under President Obama, and has given invited testimony for both houses of Congress.

Moreno has served as adviser to many nongovernmental organizations, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a member of the Governing Board of the International Neuroethics Society, a faculty affiliate of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, a fellow of the Hastings Center and the New York Academy of Medicine, and a past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He advises various science, health, and national security agencies and serves as a member of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s TIGER committee on potentially disruptive novel technologies.

He was an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow, holds an honorary doctorate from Hofstra University, and is a recipient of the Benjamin Rush Medal from the College of William and Mary Law School.

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