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Cognitive enhancement: Ethics and efficacy

Difficulty level

Cognitive functions underlie everything we feel, think, and do. It has often been assumed that the cognitive capacities of an individual, whether human or animal, is fixed, either at birth or at maturation. Yet recent studies have demonstrated that cognitive functions can be modified by a wide variety of factors, many of which are controllable. Some of these, including sleep and meditation, are not currently ethically controversial. But others, especially those which make use of advanced technology or unfamiliar drugs, have been challenged on ethical grounds.

Topics covered in this lesson
  • This lecture explores the morally relevant aspects of cognitive enhancement, with special emphasis on safety, fairness, authenticity and coercion (peer pressure). It will also touch upon the less-widely discussed issue of moral status and cognitive function.