Who Should Enhance? Conceptual and Normative Dimensions of Cognitive Enhancement
When should humans enhance themselves? We try to answer this question by engaging in a conceptual analysis of the nature of different activities. We think that cognitive enhancement is morally impermissible in some practice-oriented activities, such as some educational activities, when it is the case both that cognitive enhancement would negatively affect the point of those activities (i.e. learning through a certain kind of effort) and that we have good reasons to value that point. We then argue that cognitive enhancement should be allowed in two groups of cases, namely in practice-oriented activities, such as recreational activities on which little moral value or social import hangs, and in some prominently goal-directed activities, such as high-responsibility professions, the goal of which has significant moral or social value. Finally, we argue that the use of efficacious and relatively safe cognitive enhancers may even be obligatory in those high-responsibility professions under certain special circumstances.
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