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Smart Policy: Cognitive Enhancement and the Public Interest

In Julian Savulescu, Ruud ter Muelen & Guy Kahane (eds.), Enhancing Human Capabilities. Wiley-Blackwell (forthcoming)

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  1. Political Minimalism and Social Debates: The Case of Human-Enhancement Technologies.Javier Rodríguez-Alcázar - 2017 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 14 (3):347-357.
    A faulty understanding of the relationship between morality and politics encumbers many contemporary debates on human enhancement. As a result, some ethical reflections on enhancement undervalue its social dimensions, while some social approaches to the topic lack normative import. In this essay, I use my own conception of the relationship between ethics and politics, which I call “political minimalism,” in order to support and strengthen the existing social perspectives on human-enhancement technologies.
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  • Social Justice Theories as the Basis for Public Policy on Psychopharmacological Cognitive Enhancement.Astrid Maria Elfferich - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Bioethics / Revue canadienne de bioéthique 4 (1).
    Psychopharmacological cognitive enhancements could lead to a higher quality of life of healthy individuals with lower cognitive capacities, but the current regulatory framework does not seem to enable access to this group. This article discusses why Sen’s Capability Approach could open up such access, while two other modern social justice theories – utilitarianism and Rawls’ Justice as Fairness – could not. In short, the utilitarian approach is proven to be inadequate, due to practical reasons and having a low chance of (...)
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  • Retooling Techno-Moral Scenarios. A Revisited Technique for Exploring Alternative Regimes of Responsibility for Human Enhancement.Simone Arnaldi - 2018 - NanoEthics 12 (3):283-300.
    The techno-moral scenarios approach has been developed to explore the interplay between technology, society and morality. Focused on new and emerging sciences and technologies, techno-moral scenarios can be used to inform and enhance public deliberation on the desirability of socio-technical trajectories. The article presents an attempt to hybridise this scenario tool, complementing the focus on ethics with an explicit acknowledgement of the multiple meanings of responsibility and of the plurality of its regimes, i.e. the institutional arrangements presiding over the assumption (...)
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  • Responsibility and Human Enhancement.Simone Arnaldi - 2018 - NanoEthics 12 (3):251-255.
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  • Cognitive-Enhancing Drugs, Behavioral Training and the Mechanism of Cognitive Enhancement.Emma Peng Chien - 2013 - In Elisabeth Hildt & Andreas G. Franke (eds.), Cognitive Enhancement: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. New York, NY: Springer. pp. 139-144.
    In this chapter, I propose the mechanism of cognitive enhancement based on studies of cognitive-enhancing drugs and behavioral training. I argue that there are mechanistic differences between cognitive-enhancing drugs and behavioral training due to their different enhancing effects. I also suggest possible mechanisms for cognitive-enhancing drugs and behavioral training and for the synergistic effects of their simultaneous application.
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  • The Internet, Cognitive Enhancement, and the Values of Cognition.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Minds and Machines 26 (4):389-407.
    This paper has two distinct but related goals: (1) to identify some of the potential consequences of the Internet for our cognitive abilities and (2) to suggest an approach to evaluate these consequences. I begin by outlining the Google effect, which (allegedly) shows that when we know information is available online, we put less effort into storing that information in the brain. Some argue that this strategy is adaptive because it frees up internal resources which can then be used for (...)
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  • Public Attitudes Toward Cognitive Enhancement.Nicholas S. Fitz, Roland Nadler, Praveena Manogaran, Eugene W. J. Chong & Peter B. Reiner - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):173-188.
    Vigorous debate over the moral propriety of cognitive enhancement exists, but the views of the public have been largely absent from the discussion. To address this gap in our knowledge, four experiments were carried out with contrastive vignettes in order to obtain quantitative data on public attitudes towards cognitive enhancement. The data collected suggest that the public is sensitive to and capable of understanding the four cardinal concerns identified by neuroethicists, and tend to cautiously accept cognitive enhancement even as they (...)
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  • Exploring Some Challenges of the Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement Discourse: Users and Policy Recommendations.Toni Pustovrh & Franc Mali - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (2):137-158.
    The article explores some of the issues that have arisen in the discourse on pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement (PCE), that is, the use of stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate, amphetamine and modafinil by healthy individuals of various populations with the aim of improving cognitive performance. Specifically, we explore the presumed sizes of existing PCE user populations and the policy actions that have been proposed regarding the trend of PCE. We begin with an introductory examination of the academic stances and philosophical issues (...)
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  • Empirical Support for the Moral Salience of the Therapy-Enhancement Distinction in the Debate Over Cognitive, Affective and Social Enhancement.Laura Y. Cabrera, Nicholas S. Fitz & Peter B. Reiner - 2015 - Neuroethics 8 (3):243-256.
    The ambiguity regarding whether a given intervention is perceived as enhancement or as therapy might contribute to the angst that the public expresses with respect to endorsement of enhancement. We set out to develop empirical data that explored this. We used Amazon Mechanical Turk to recruit participants from Canada and the United States. Each individual was randomly assigned to read one vignette describing the use of a pill to enhance one of 12 cognitive, affective or social domains. The vignettes described (...)
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  • Cognitive Enhancements and the Values of Higher Education.Matt Lamkin - 2012 - Health Care Analysis 20 (4):347-355.
    Drugs developed to treat cognitive impairments are proving popular with healthy college students seeking to boost their focus and productivity. Concerned observers have called these practices a form of cheating akin to athletes’ use of steroids, with some proposing testing students’ urine to deter “academic doping.” The ease with which critics analogize the academic enterprise to competitive sport, and the impulse to crack down on students using study drugs, reflect the same social influences and trends that spur demand for these (...)
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  • Should We Campaign Against Sex Robots?John Danaher, Brian D. Earp & Anders Sandberg - 2017 - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    In September 2015 a well-publicised Campaign Against Sex Robots (CASR) was launched. Modelled on the longer-standing Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, the CASR opposes the development of sex robots on the grounds that the technology is being developed with a particular model of female-male relations (the prostitute-john model) in mind, and that this will prove harmful in various ways. In this chapter, we consider carefully the merits of campaigning against such a technology. We make three main arguments. First, we argue (...)
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  • The Ethics of Enhancement: Cognitive Inequalities and Sentient Animals.Olga Campos Serena - 2016 - Ramon Llull Journal of Applied Ethics 7 (7):71-91.
    What role should sentient animals play in the current debate on enhancement? The question covers several different philosophical fronts that demand urgent global ethical analysis. This touches issues that go from prohibition, permissivity or obligation that should characterize the new biotechnologies oriented to the enhancement of individuals, to the debate surrounding the moral rights of animals. Furthermore, the difficulty arises not only from the controversial moral categories involved, but also from the very extent of the objective proposed. However, this also (...)
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  • Motivation's Pick-Me-Upper: Enhancing Performance Through Motivation-Enhancing Drugs.Keisha Shantel Ray - 2015 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 6 (1):50-51.
    Torben Kjærsgaard’s argues that the term “cognitive enhancement substances” is an inappropriate term considering that stimulants do not enhance cognition, but rather only enhance motivation. Therefore, he concludes that stimulants are best described as “performance maintenance” and not “performance enhancement.” I challenge his conclusion on the grounds that both life’s ordinary, daily activities and life’s extraordinary activities are types of performances necessary for living the kinds of lives that we want to live, which can be enhanced, not just maintained, with (...)
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  • Human Enhancement and Supra-Personal Moral Status.Thomas Douglas - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):473-497.
    Several authors have speculated that (1) the pharmaceutical, genetic or other technological enhancement of human mental capacities could result in the creation of beings with greater moral status than persons, and (2) the creation of such beings would harm ordinary, unenhanced humans, perhaps by reducing their immunity to permissible harm. These claims have been taken to ground moral objections to the unrestrained pursuit of human enhancement. In recent work, Allen Buchanan responds to these objections by questioning both (1) and (2). (...)
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  • La mejora del carácter moral en la evaluación de las técnicas de mejora biológica.Olga Campos - 2010 - Dilemata 3.
    Deberíamos usar las nuevas técnicas biomédicas para mejorar a los individuos? Si sabemos que la naturaleza humana contiene también características que podemos considerar no deseables entonces parece que no habría nada en sí mismo erróneo a la hora de alterarla. Algunos autores interesados en este tema hacen referencia a los daños que ello podría ocasionar a otros. Pero entonces, ¿la mejora moral podría funcionar como un contraejemplo a la idea de que la mejora biomédica es siempre moralmente impermisible? Puede que (...)
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  • ¿Igualdad Para Los Animales? Mejora Cognitiva Más Allá de Los Seres Humanos.Olga Campos Serena - 2018 - Télos 21 (2):85-98.
    I will take a famous paragraph from J S. Mill as a starting point for defending the idea that moral philosophy has to take charge definitively of those who have been less fortunate in the natural lottery. This means that we must to take seriously the possibility of increasing the capacity for the well-being of nonhuman animals. The aim of the text is to show the relevance of the current ethical debate on enhancement also in the context of reflection on (...)
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  • Cognitive Enhancement: Perceptions Among Parents of Children with Disabilities.Natalie Ball & Gregor Wolbring - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (3):345-364.
    Cognitive enhancement is an increasingly discussed topic and policy suggestions have been put forward. We present here empirical data of views of parents of children with and without cognitive disabilities. Analysis of the interviews revealed six primary overarching themes: meanings of health and treatment; the role of medicine; harm; the ‘good’ parent; normality and self-perception; and ability. Interestingly none of the parents used the term ethics and only one parent used the term moral twice.
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  • The Myth of Cognitive Enhancement Drugs.Hazem Zohny - 2015 - Neuroethics 8 (3):257-269.
    There are a number of premises underlying much of the vigorous debate on pharmacological cognitive enhancement. Among these are claims in the enhancement literature that such drugs exist and are effective among the cognitively normal. These drugs are deemed to enhance cognition specifically, as opposed to other non-cognitive facets of our psychology, such as mood and motivation. The focus on these drugs as cognitive enhancers also suggests that they raise particular ethical questions, or perhaps more pressing ones, compared to those (...)
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  • Converging Technologies: A Critical Analysis of Cognitive Enhancement for Public Policy Application. [REVIEW]Christos Makridis - 2013 - Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (3):1017-1038.
    This paper investigates cognitive enhancement, specifically biological cognitive enhancement (BCE), as a converging technology, and its implications for public policy. With an increasing rate of technological advancements, the legal, social, and economic frameworks lag behind the scientific advancements that they support. This lag poses significant challenges for policymakers if it is not dealt with sufficiently within the right analytical context. Therefore, the driving question behind this paper is, “What contingencies inform the advancement of biological cognitive enhancement, and what would society (...)
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