Neuroenhancement, Coercion, and Neo-Luddism

In Nicole A. Vincent, Thomas Nadelhoffer & Allan McCay (eds.), Neurointerventions and the Law: Regulating Human Mental Capacity. New York, NY, USA: pp. 375-405 (2020)
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Abstract

This chapter addresses the claim that, as new types of neurointervention get developed allowing us to enhance various aspects of our mental functioning, we should work to prevent the use of such interventions from ever becoming the “new normal,” that is, a practice expected—even if not directly required—by employers. The author’s response to that claim is that, unlike compulsion or most cases of direct coercion, indirect coercion to use such neurointerventions is, per se, no more problematic than the pressure people all find themselves under to use modern technological devices like computers or mobile phones. Few people seem to believe that special protections should be introduced to protect contemporary Neo-Luddites from such pressures. That being said, the author acknowledges that separate factors, when present, can indeed render indirect coercion to enhance problematic. The factors in question include lack of safety, fostering adaptation to oppressive circumstances, and having negative side effects that go beyond health. Nonetheless, the chapter stresses that these factors do not seem to be necessary correlates of neuroenhancement.

Author's Profile

Alexandre Erler
National Yang Ming University

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