Ought we to enhance our cognitive capacities?

Bioethics 23 (7):421-432 (2009)
Ought we to improve our cognitive capacities beyond the normal human range? It might be a good idea to level out differences between peoples cognitive capacities; and some people's reaching beyond normal capacities may have some good side-effects on society at large (but also bad side-effects, of course). But is there any direct gain to be made from having ones cognitive capacities enhanced? Would this as such make our lives go better? No, I argue; or at least there doesn't seem to be any evidence suggesting that it would. And it doesn't matter whether we consider the question from a narrow hedonistic perspective, from a more refined hedonistic perspective, from a desire-satisfaction view, or from some reasonable objective list view of what makes a life go well. Only an extremely perfectionist – and implausible – view of what makes our lives go well could support any direct value in cognitive enhancement. Finally, our sense of identity gives us no good reasons to enhance even our capacity to remember. So, cognitive enhancement as such would not improve our lives.
Keywords personal identity  happiness studies  cognitive enhancement  perfectionism  preferentialism  hedonism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00721.x
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