The mystery of mental integrity: Clarifying its relevance to neurotechnologies

Zohny, H., Lyreskog, D., Singh, I. and Savulescu, J., (2023), 'The mystery of mental integrity: Clarifying its relevance to neurotechnologies', Neuroethics, Vol: 16(20) [PMC10442279


The concept of mental integrity is currently a significant topic in discussions concerning the regulation of neurotechnologies. Technologies such as deep brain stimulation and brain-computer interfaces are believed to pose a unique threat to mental integrity, and some authors have advocated for a legal right to protect it. Despite this, there remains uncertainty about what mental integrity entails and why it is important. Various interpretations of the concept have been proposed, but the literature on the subject is inconclusive. Here we consider a number of possible interpretations and argue that the most plausible one concerns neurotechnologies that bypass one's reasoning capacities, and do so specifically in ways that reliably lead to alienation from one's mental states. This narrows the scope of what constitutes a threat to mental integrity and offers a more precise role for the concept to play in the ethical evaluation of neurotechnologies.


Dr Hazem Zohny

Dr David Lyreskog

Professor Ilina Singh

Professor Julian Savulescu


We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Wellcome Trust (Oxford Centre for Ethics and Humanities, grant WT203132) and the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (IS-BRC-1215-20005).

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