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Keeping Freedom in Mind

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is a network of scholars elaborating the law, policy and ethics of freedom of thought. Our mission is to develop social policies that will preserve and enhance freedom of thought into the 21st century.

Growing knowledge in the neurosciences, enhanced by exponential advances in pharmacology and other neurotechnologies (technologies that make it possible to monitor and manipulate the brainís electrochemistry) are rapidly moving brain research and clinical applications beyond the scope of purely medical use. The definitions of "medicine" and "mental health" are expanding from treatment and prevention, to improvement and enhancement.

The CCLE is dedicated to protecting and advancing freedom of thought in the modern world of accelerating neurotechnologies. Our paramount concern is to foster the unlimited potential of the human mind and to protect freedom of thought.

The CCLE supports technological advances, and believes that the application and regulation of new drugs and neurotechnologies are best channeled by a renewed allegiance to the fundamental right to freedom of thought. Our guiding principles are privacy, autonomy and choice:

  • Privacy:  What and how you think should be private unless you choose to share it.  The use of technologies such as brain imaging and scanning must remain consensual and any information so revealed should remain confidential.  The right to privacy must be found to encompass the inner domain of thought.
  • Autonomy:  Self-determination over oneís own cognition is central to free will. Decisions concerning whether or how to change a personís thought processes must remain the province of the individual as opposed to government or industry.
  • Choice:  The capabilities of the human mind should not be limited.  So long as people do not directly harm others, governments should not criminally prohibit cognitive enhancement or the experience of any mental state.
No Simple Solutions
The CCLE recognizes that these are extremely complex issues with no simple solutions. We see our contribution as helping to negotiate the intersection of law and science so that new neurotechnologies expand rather than reduce freedom of thought.

What We Do

Advocacy The CCLE supports social impact litigation that has the potential to broadly advance cognitive liberty. We have filed legal briefs on the topic of cognitive liberty in federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Analysis The CCLE monitors developments in neurotechnology, cognitive sciences and the law, to identify and offer guidance concerning those developments with a potential to significantly impact freedom of thought.  We produce reports and professional testimony on complex freedom of thought issues currently facing policy makers, industry, and the general public.

Education By raising awareness of emerging cognitive liberty issues, our outreach and education campaigns empower people to meaningfully participate in public discourse and the democratic process. We provide course content to universities and professional schools in order to accelerate scholarly discussion of cognitive liberty across a wide range of disciplines.  

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