The Nature of the Emotions and the Ethics of Cosmetic Psychopharmacology

Public Affairs Quarterly 30 (1) (2016)

Samuel Duncan
Tidewater Community College
Most of the literature on the ethics of psychopharmacology has focused on the question of whether altering our emotions by using drugs is somehow inauthentic. In this essay I argue that this focus on authenticity is misplaced and that the more important question concerns the nature of the emotions themselves. I show that what one takes the emotions to be is possibly the most important factor in deciding whether or not psychopharmacology is morally problematic and, if so, why. I illustrate how theories of the emotions determine the ethics of psychopharmacology, but deliberately take no stance on what the correct theory of the emotions is. My aim here is not to reach firm conclusions about the issues anti-depressants and similar drugs raise, but to set the terms for a more fruitful debate about these issues.
Keywords emotions  enhancement  cosmetic psychopharmacology
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References found in this work BETA

Emotion.Ronald de Sousa - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Prozac, Enhancement, and Self‐Creation.David Degrazia - 2000 - Hastings Center Report 30 (2):34-40.

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