Debunking the ethical neuroenhancement debate

Schleim, S. & Quednow, B. B., 2-Mar-2017, Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement. ter Meulen, R., Mohamed, A. & Hall, W. (eds.). Oxford University Press, p. 164-175 12 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

In this chapter we argue that the use of stimulant drugs as performance enhancers is neither new nor more common than it was decades ago. Our literature analysis of scientific sources from the 1960s–80s shows that stimulant consumption of drugs such as amphetamines for enhancement purposes was present and investigated back then prior to the current neuroenhancement debate. Finally, we propose a new theoretical framework with which attitudes toward neuroenhancement in the healthy can be located in a two- dimensional matrix. This framework spans the dimensions knowledge attitudes (pharmacological optimism vs. pharmacological scepticism) and ethical attitudes (pharmacological utilitarianism vs. pharmacological calvinism) and enables the location of common ethical positions on neuroenhancement such as transhumanism and bioconservatism. We conclude that the ethical significance of neuroenhancement was exaggerated and that a more cautious stance toward this phenomenon would likely be more appropriate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking Cognitive Enhancement
EditorsRuud ter Meulen, Ahmed Mohamed, Wayne Hall
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780198727392
Publication statusPublished - 2-Mar-2017

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