Cognitive enhancement takes many and diverse forms. Various methods of cognitive enhancement have implications for the near future. At the same time, these technologies raise a range of ethical issues. For example, they interact with notions of authenticity, the good life, and the role of medicine in our lives. Present and anticipated methods for cognitive enhancement also create challenges for public policy and regulation.
In Enhancing Evolution, leading bioethicist John Harris dismantles objections to genetic engineering, stem-cell research, designer babies, and cloning and makes an ethical case for biotechnology that is both forthright and rigorous. Human enhancement, Harris argues, is a good thing--good morally, good for individuals, good as social policy, and good for a genetic heritage that needs serious improvement. Enhancing Evolution defends biotechnological interventions that could allow us to live longer, healthier, and even happier lives by, for example, providing us with (...) immunity from cancer and HIV/AIDS. Further, Harris champions the possibility of influencing the very course of evolution to give us increased mental and physical powers--from reasoning, concentration, and memory to strength, stamina, and reaction speed. Indeed, he says, it's not only morally defensible to enhance ourselves; in some cases, it's morally obligatory. In a new preface, Harris offers a glimpse at the new science and technology to come, equipping readers with the knowledge to assess the ethics and policy dimensions of future forms of human enhancement. (shrink)
This paper identifies human enhancement as one of the most significant areas of bioethical interest in the last twenty years. It discusses in more detail one area, namely moral enhancement, which is generating significant contemporary interest. The author argues that so far from being susceptible to new forms of high tech manipulation, either genetic, chemical, surgical or neurological, the only reliable methods of moral enhancement, either now or for the foreseeable future, are either those that have been (...) in human and animal use for millennia, namely socialization, education and parental supervision or those high tech methods that are general in their application. By that is meant those forms of cognitive enhancement that operate across a wide range of cognitive abilities and do not target specifically ‘ethical’ capacities. The paper analyses the work of some of the leading contemporary advocates of moral enhancement and finds that in so far as they identify moral qualities or moral emotions for enhancement they have little prospect of success. (shrink)
Enhancing Communication & Collaboration in Interdisciplinary Research, edited by Michael O'Rourke, Stephen Crowley, Sanford D. Eigenbrode, and J. D. Wulfhorst, is a volume of previously unpublished, state-of-the-art chapters on interdisciplinary communication and collaboration written by leading figures and promising junior scholars in the world of interdisciplinary research, education, and administration. Designed to inform both teaching and research, this innovative book covers the spectrum of interdisciplinary activity, offering a timely emphasis on collaborative interdisciplinary work. The book’s four main parts focus on (...) theoretical perspectives, case studies, communication tools, and institutional perspectives, while a final chapter ties together the various strands that emerge in the book and defines trend-lines and future research questions for those conducting work on interdisciplinary communication. (shrink)
Current general restrictions on performance-enhancing drugs pose a collective action problem that cannot be solved and bring a variety of adverse consequences for sport. General prohibitions of PEDs are grounded in claims that they violate the integrity of sport. But there are decisive arguments against integrity of sport-based prohibitions of PEDs for elite sport. We defend a harm prevention approach to PED prohibition as an alternative. This position cannot support a general ban on PEDs, since it provides no basis for (...) prohibiting non-harmful PED use. We argue that a harm prevention approach to restricting PEDs is ethically justified, has better prospects of compliance, is consistent with respecting the integrity of sport, and holds at least a modest prospect of resolving the collective action problem around PED restriction. (shrink)
ZusammenfassungMoral Enhancement wird von einer Reihe einflussreicher Bioethiker propagiert, zum Teil mit dem Anspruch, dass nur dadurch die Menschheit vor ihrem selbstverschuldeten Untergang zu retten sei. Nachdem begründete Zweifel an der Eignung der zum Moral Enhancement vorgeschlagenen Psychopharmaka aufgekommen sind, wurden neurochirurgische Interventionen, insbesondere die Tiefe Hirnstimulation, vorgeschlagen. Diese Ad-hoc-Vorschläge stützen sich auf eine Handvoll neurochirurgischer Eingriffe an geistig schwer behinderten Menschen sowie die Psychochirurgie des letzten Jahrhunderts. In diesem Aufsatz geht es erstens um die Frage, ob Moral (...)Enhancement durch neurochirurgische Methoden überhaupt möglich ist und, wenn ja, inwiefern, und zweitens um die Frage nach dessen ethischer Vertretbarkeit, sofern es möglich ist. Mit den bisher vorgeschlagenen Methoden des neurochirurgischen Moral Enhancement könnte man zwar Aggressionen oder den Sexualtrieb reduzieren, sodass weniger Selbstkontrolle erforderlich wäre, um moralisch angemessen zu handeln. Theoretisch denkbar, aber bisher nicht durch empirische Evidenz gestützt, ist, dass neurochirurgische Eingriffe die Selbstkontrolle verbessern könnten. Nach dem Modell der moralischen Intelligenz von Carmen Tanner und Markus Christen lässt sich zeigen, dass dadurch allenfalls eine Komponente der moralischen Intelligenz verbessert werden könnte, nämlich die moralische Standhaftigkeit. Keiner der bisherigen Vorschläge zielt dagegen auf die Verbesserung der anderen vier Komponenten, also des moralischen Kompasses, der moralischen Sensibilität, der moralischen Urteilsfähigkeit und der moralischen Motivation. Ein umfassendes Moral Enhancement durch neurochirurgische Eingriffe ist mit den gegenwärtig verfügbaren oder vorgeschlagenen Methoden also nicht möglich. Allenfalls lässt sich in Zukunft durch Closed-Loop-Systeme, die bestimmte Impulse automatisch herunter regeln, ein moralkonformeres Verhalten erreichen. Eine nur technisch induzierte Verhaltensverbesserung wäre allerdings höchstens unter Zugrundelegung eines utilitaristischen Moralverständnisses als moralische Verbesserung anzuerkennen. (shrink)
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing about (...) moral improvements, that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
The enhancement of human traits has received academic attention for decades, but only recently has moral enhancement using biomedical means – moral bioenhancement (MB) – entered the discussion. After explaining why we ought to take the possibility of MB seriously, the paper considers the shape and content of moral improvement, addressing at some length a challenge presented by reasonable moral pluralism. The discussion then proceeds to this question: Assuming MB were safe, effective, and universally available, would it be (...) morally desirable? In particular, would it pose an unacceptable threat to human freedom? After defending a negative answer to the latter question – which requires an investigation into the nature and value of human freedom – and arguing that there is nothing inherently wrong with MB, the paper closes with reflections on what we should value in moral behaviour. (shrink)
As scientific progress approaches the point where significant human enhancements could become reality, debates arise whether such technologies should be made available. This paper evaluates the widespread concern that human enhancements will inevitably accentuate existing inequality and analyzes whether prohibition is the optimal public policy to avoid this outcome. Beyond these empirical questions, this paper considers whether the inequality objection is a sound argument against the set of enhancements most threatening to equality, i.e., cognitive enhancements. In doing so, I shall (...) argue that cognitive enhancements can be embraced wholeheartedly, for three separate reasons. However, though the inequality objection does not sufficiently support the conclusion that cognitive enhancements should be prohibited, it raises several concerns for optimal policy design that shall be addressed here. (shrink)
One of the reasons why moral enhancement may be controversial, is because the advantages of moral enhancement may fall upon society rather than on those who are enhanced. If directed at individuals with certain counter-moral traits it may have direct societal benefits by lowering immoral behavior and increasing public safety, but it is not directly clear if this also benefits the individual in question. In this paper, we will discuss what we consider to be moral enhancement, how (...) different means may be used to achieve it and whether the means we employ to reach moral enhancement matter morally. Are certain means to achieve moral enhancement wrong in themselves? Are certain means to achieve moral enhancement better than others, and if so, why? More specifically, we will investigate whether the difference between direct and indirect moral enhancement matters morally. Is it the case that indirect means are morally preferable to direct means of moral enhancement and can we indeed pinpoint relevant intrinsic, moral differences between both? We argue that the distinction between direct and indirect means is indeed morally relevant, but only insofar as it tracks an underlying distinction between active and passive interventions. Although passive interventions can be ethical provided specific safeguards are put in place, these interventions exhibit a greater potential to compromise autonomy and disrupt identity. (shrink)
In work on the ethics of cognitive enhancement use, there is a pervasive concern that such enhancement will—in some way—make us less authentic. Attempts to clarify what this concern amounts to and how to respond to it often lead to debates on the nature of the “true self” and what constitutes “genuine human activity”. This paper shows that a new and effective way to make progress on whether certain cases of cognitive enhancement problematically undermine authenticity is to (...) make use of considerations from the separate debate on the nature of authentic emotion. Drawing in particular on Wasserman and Liao, the present paper offers new conditions that can help us assess the impact of cognitive enhancements on authenticity. (shrink)
Opponents of biomedical enhancement often claim that, even if such enhancement would benefit the enhanced, it would harm others. But this objection looks unpersuasive when the enhancement in question is a moral enhancement — an enhancement that will expectably leave the enhanced person with morally better motives than she had previously. In this article I (1) describe one type of psychological alteration that would plausibly qualify as a moral enhancement, (2) argue that we will, (...) in the medium-term future, probably be able to induce such alterations via biomedical intervention, and (3) defend future engagement in such moral enhancements against possible objections. My aim is to present this kind of moral enhancement as a counter-example to the view that biomedical enhancement is always morally impermissible. (shrink)
To what extent should we use technological advances to try to make better human beings? Leading philosophers debate the possibility of enhancing human cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and controlling aging. Would this take us beyond the bounds of human nature? These are questions that need to be answered now.
Developments in medical science have afforded us the opportunity to improve and enhance the human species in ways unthinkable to previous generations. Whether it's making changes to mitochondrial DNA in a human egg, being prescribed Prozac, or having a facelift, our desire to live longer, feel better and look good has presented philosophers, medical practitioners and policy-makers with considerable ethical challenges. But what exactly constitutes human improvement? What do we mean when we talk of making "better" humans? In this book (...) Michael Hauskeller explores these questions and the ideas of human good that underpin them. Posing some challenging questions about the nature of human enhancement, he interrogates the logic behind its processes and examines the justifications behind its criteria. Questioning common assumptions about what constitutes human improvement, Hauskeller asks whether the criteria proposed by its advocates are convincing. The book draws on recent research as well as popular representations of human enhancement from advertising to the internet, and provides a non-technical and accessible survey of the issues for readers and students interested in the ethics and politics of human enhancement. (shrink)
Nicholas Agar offers a more nuanced view of the transformative potential of genetic and cybernetic technologies, making a case for moderate human enhancement—improvements to attributes and abilities that do not significantly exceed what ...
The Enhanced Indispensability Argument (Baker [ 2009 ]) exemplifies the new wave of the indispensability argument for mathematical Platonism. The new wave capitalizes on mathematics' role in scientific explanations. I will criticize some analyses of mathematics' explanatory function. In turn, I will emphasize the representational role of mathematics, and argue that the debate would significantly benefit from acknowledging this alternative viewpoint to mathematics' contribution to scientific explanations and knowledge.
Moral enhancement refers to the possibility of making individuals and societies better from a moral standpoint. A fierce debate has emerged about the ethical aspects of moral enhancement, notably because steering moral enhancement in a particular direction involves choosing amongst a wide array of competing options, and these options entail deciding which moral theory or attributes of the moral agent would benefit from enhancement. Furthermore, the ability and effectiveness of different neurotechnologies to enhance morality have not (...) been carefully examined. In this paper, we assess the practical feasibility of moral enhancement neurotechnologies. We reviewed the literature on neuroscience and cognitive science models of moral judgment and analyzed their implications for the specific target of intervention in moral enhancement. We also reviewed and compared evidence on available neurotechnologies that could serve as tools of moral enhancement. We conclude that the predictions of rationalist, emotivist, and dual process models are at odds with evidence, while different intuitionist models of moral judgment are more likely to be aligned with it. Furthermore, the project of moral enhancement is not feasible in the near future as it rests on the use of neurointerventions, which have no moral enhancement effects or, worse, negative effects. (shrink)
This article explores the respective roles that medical and technological cognitive enhancements, on the one hand, and the moral and epistemic virtues traditionally understood, on the other, can play in enabling us to lead the good life. It will be shown that neither the virtues nor cognitive enhancements on their own are likely to enable most people to lead the good life. While the moral and epistemic virtues quite plausibly are both necessary and sufficient for the good life in theory, (...) virtue ethics is often criticised for being elitist and unachievable in practice for the vast majority. Some cognitive enhancements, on the other hand, might be necessary for the good life but are far from sufficient for such an existence. Here it will be proposed that a combination of virtue and some cognitive enhancements is preferable. (shrink)
The prospects of enhancing cognitive or motor functions using neuroscience in otherwise healthy individuals has attracted considerable attention and interest in neuroethics (Farah et al., Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5:421–425, 2004; Glannon Journal of Medical Ethics 32:74–78, 2006). The use of stimulants is one of the areas which has propelled the discussion on the potential for neuroscience to yield cognition-enhancing products. However, we have found in our review of the literature that the paradigms used to discuss the non-medical use of stimulant (...) drugs prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) vary considerably. In this brief communication, we identify three common paradigms—prescription drug abuse, cognitive enhancement, and lifestyle use of pharmaceuticals—and briefly highlight how divergences between paradigms create important “ethics blind spots”. (shrink)
This paper affirms human enhancement in principle, but questions the inordinate attention paid to two particular forms of enhancement: life extension and raising IQ. The argument is not about whether these enhancements are possible or not; instead, I question the aspirations behind the denial of death and the stress on one particular type of intelligence: the logico-analytic. Death is a form of finitude, and finitude is a crucially defining part of human life. As for intelligence, Howard Gardner and (...) Daniel Goleman show us the importance of multiple intelligences. After clarifying the notion of different psychological types, the paper takes five specimens of a distinct type and then studies the traits of that type through their examples. Seeking a pattern connecting those traits, the paper finds them bound together by the embrace of the computational metaphor for human cognition and then argues that the computational metaphor does not do a good job of describing human intelligence. Enlisting the works of Jaron Lanier and Ellen Ullman, the paper ends with a caution against pushing human intelligence toward machine intelligence, and points toward the human potential movement as a possible ally and wise guide for the transhumanist movement. (shrink)
Opponents to genetic or biomedical human enhancement often claim that the availability of these technologies would have negative consequences for those who either choose not to utilize these resources or lack access to them. However, Thomas Douglas has argued that this objection has no force against the use of technologies that aim to bring about morally desirable character traits, as the unenhanced would benefit from being surrounded by such people. I will argue that things are not as straightforward as (...) Douglas makes out. The widespread use of moral enhancement would raise the standards for praise and blame worthiness, making it much harder for the unenhanced to perform praiseworthy actions or avoid performing blameworthy actions. This shows that supporters of moral enhancement cannot avoid this challenge in the way that Douglas suggests. (shrink)
We examine a set of debates in Practical Ethics commonly labeled “the ethics of human enhancement.” Our essay focuses on (1) conceptual concerns about the limits of legitimate health care—the treatment vs. enhancement distinction, (2) moral considerations about fairness, authenticity, and human nature that are common in discussing the use of medical technologies in competitive institutions like sports and academia, and (3) broader issues that pertain to science policy and the distribution and regulation of medical technologies.
Vocational Education and Training programs are fuelled by technical and practical educational modules. The teaching staff adopts both traditional and innovative pedagogical frameworks to increase the generalization and maintenance of practical skills. At the same time, VET teachers and trainers have a few occasions to promote and include disciplines and educational programs for enhancing students' soft skills, e.g., critical thinking skills and media literacy. Following the European VET framework and literature of the field, CT and ML represent a social challenge (...) that requires even more efforts by academics, practitioners, and policymakers. Thisstudy situates into this context with the aim of introducing a novel educational approach for supporting the teaching staff in the promotion of students' CT and ML. This educational approach has been realized by the team of researchers and trainers of the NERDVET project, an Erasmus+ KA3 project devoted to the promotion of new tools and policies for enhancing CT and ML in VET. To pursue this aim, the team has employed the self-nudging model which regards the individuals' set of cognitive and behavioral strategies that individuals can develop to target a specific objective. By framing pedagogical strategies into this perspective, the team realized an initial approach for educational activities and teaching strategies to promote students' CT and ML. (shrink)
Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been conceptualized in the literature either as a dispositional tendency, in line with a personality trait (trait EI; Petrides and Furnham, 2001), or as an ability, moderately correlated with general intelligence (ability EI; Mayer and Salovey, 1997). Surprisingly, there have been few empirical attempts conceptualizing how the different EI approaches should be related to each other. However, understanding how the different approaches of EI may be interwoven and/or complementary is of primary importance for clarifying the conceptualization (...) of EI and organizing the literature around it. We introduce a theoretical framework explaining how trait EI, ability EI, and emotion information processing – a novel component related to EI recently introduced in the literature (e.g., Fiori and Vesely Maillefer, 2018) – may contribute to effective emotion-related performance and provide initial evidence supporting its usefulness in predicting EI-related outcomes. More specifically, we show that performance in a task in which participants had to infer the mental and emotional states of others, namely a Theory of Mind task, was predicted jointly (e.g., interaction effects) by trait EI, ability EI, and emotion information processing, after controlling for personality and IQ (N = 323). Our results argue for the importance of investigating the joint contribution of different aspects of EI in explaining variability in emotionally laden outcomes. (shrink)
In general, to enhance something is to raise that thing in degree, intensity, magnitude, or in some sense improve upon it.2 In this context, we are concerned with enhancements, ie amplifications or extensions, of human capabilities, ...
It is sometimes claimed that those who succeed with the aid of enhancement technologies deserve the rewards associated with their success less, other things being equal, than those who succeed without the aid of such technologies. This claim captures some widely held intuitions, has been implicitly endorsed by participants in social–psychological research and helps to undergird some otherwise puzzling philosophical objections to the use of enhancement technologies. I consider whether it can be provided with a rational basis. I (...) examine three arguments that might be offered in its favour and argue that each either shows only that enhancements undermine desert in special circumstances or succeeds only under assumptions that deprive the appeal to desert of much of its dialectic interest. (shrink)
There exists a significant disparity within society between individuals in terms of intelligence. While intelligence varies naturally throughout society, the extent to which this impacts on the life opportunities it affords to each individual is greatly undervalued. Intelligence appears to have a prominent effect over a broad range of social and economic life outcomes. Many key determinants of well-being correlate highly with the results of IQ tests, and other measures of intelligence, and an IQ of 75 is generally accepted as (...) the most important threshold in modern life. The ability to enhance our cognitive capacities offers an exciting opportunity to correct disabling natural variation and inequality in intelligence. Pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers, such as modafinil and methylphenidate, have been shown to have the capacity to enhance cognition in normal, healthy individuals. Perhaps of most relevance is the presence of an ‘inverted U effect’ for most pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers, whereby the degree of enhancement increases as intelligence levels deviate further below the mean. Although enhancement, including cognitive enhancement, has been much debated recently, we argue that there are egalitarian reasons to enhance individuals with low but normal intelligence. Under egalitarianism, cognitive enhancement has the potential to reduce opportunity inequality and contribute to relative income and welfare equality in the lower, normal intelligence subgroup. Cognitive enhancement use is justifiable under prioritarianism through various means of distribution; selective access to the lower, normal intelligence subgroup, universal access, or paradoxically through access primarily to the average and above average intelligence subgroups. Similarly, an aggregate increase in social well-being is achieved through similar means of distribution under utilitarianism. In addition, the use of cognitive enhancement within the lower, normal intelligence subgroup negates, or at the very least minimises, several common objections to cognitive enhancement. Subsequently, this paper demonstrates that there is a compelling case for cognitive enhancement use in individuals with lower, normal intelligence. (shrink)
In an essay on performance-enhancing drugs, author Chuck Klosterman (2007) argues that the category of enhancers extends from hallucinogens used to inspire music to steroids used to strengthen athletes—and he criticizes those who would excuse one means of enhancement while railing against the other as a form of cheating: After the summer of 1964, the Beatles started taking serious drugs, and those drugs altered their musical performance. Though it may not have been their overt intent, the Beatles took performance-enhancing (...) drugs. And . . . absolutely no one holds it against them. No one views “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” as “less authentic” albums, despite the fact that they would not (and probably could .. (shrink)
Recognizing the variety of dystopian science-fiction novels and movies, from Brave New World to Gattaca and more recently Star Trek, on the future of humanity in which eugenic policies are implemented, genetic engineering has been getting a bad reputation for valid but arguably, mostly historical reasons. In this paper, I critically examine the claim from Mehlman & Botkin (1998: ch. 6) that human enhancement will inevitably accentuate existing inequality in a free market and analyze whether prohibition is the optimal (...) public policy for this objection as egalitarians might advise (Lamont and Favor, 2014). (shrink)
The use of certain performance-enhancing drugs is banned in sport. I discuss critically standard justifications of the ban based on arguments from two widely used criteria: fairness and harms to health. I argue that these arguments on their own are inadequate, and only make sense within a normative understanding of athletic performance and the value of sport. In the discourse over PED, the distinction between “natural” and “artificial” performance has exerted significant impact. I examine whether the distinction makes sense from (...) a moral point of view. I propose an understanding of “natural” athletic performance by combining biological knowledge of training with an interpretation of the normative structure of sport. I conclude that this understanding can serve as moral justification of the PED ban and enable critical and analytically based line drawing between acceptable and nonacceptable performance-enhancing means in sport. (shrink)
All humans share a universal, evolutionarily ancient approximate number system (ANS) that estimates and combines the numbers of objects in sets with ratio-limited precision. Interindividual variability in the acuity of the ANS correlates with mathematical achievement, but the causes of this correlation have never been established. We acquired psychophysical measures of ANS acuity in child and adult members of an indigene group in the Amazon, the Mundurucú, who have a very restricted numerical lexicon and highly variable access to mathematics education. (...) By comparing Mundurucú subjects with and without access to schooling, we found that education significantly enhances the acuity with which sets of concrete objects are estimated. These results indicate that culture and education have an important effect on basic number perception. We hypothesize that symbolic and nonsymbolic numerical thinking mutually enhance one another over the course of mathematics instruction. (shrink)
The use of psychopharmaceuticals to enhance human mental functioning such as cognition and mood has raised a debate on questions regarding identity and authenticity. While some hold that psychopharmaceutical substances can help users to ‘become who they really are’ and thus strengthen their identity and authenticity, others believe that the substances will lead to inauthenticity, normalization, and socially-enforced adaptation of behaviour and personality. In light of this debate, we studied how persons who actually have experience with the use of psychopharmaceutical (...) medication would view their ‘self’ or their authentic personal identity in relation to the use of medication. We have interviewed a number of adults diagnosed with ADHD and discussed their experiences with medication use in relation to their conceptions of self and identity. In the first part of this paper we illustrate that the concepts of identity and authenticity play an important and sometimes problematic role in experiences of ADHD adults. This shows that the question about identity and psychopharmacology is not merely an ‘academic’ issue, but one that influences everyday lives of real people. In order to answer the question whether psychopharmaceuticals threaten personal identity and authenticity, more than empirical research is needed. We also need to analyse the concepts of personal identity, authenticity and self: what do we mean when we are using statements as ‘a way of living that is uniquely our own’, ‘our true self’, or ‘who we really are’? In the second part of this paper we discuss two important philosophical views on personal identity, authenticity and self: the self-control view as elaborated by Frankfurt, and the self-expression view as proposed by Schechtman. We compare these with the experiences of our respondents to see which view can help us to understand the diverse and often conflicting experiences that people have with medication for ADHD. This will contribute to a better understanding of whether and in which cases personal identity and authenticity are threatened by psychopharmacology. (shrink)
This article focuses on the follow question: Are human enhancement technologies likely to be justice impairing or justice promoting? We argue that human enhancement technologies may not be inherently just or unjust, but when situated within obtaining social contexts they are likely to exacerbate rather than alleviate social injustices.
This paper addresses the topic of this special symposium issue: how to enhance the impact of cross-sector partnerships. The paper takes stock of two related discussions: the discourse in cross-sector partnership research on how to assess impact and the discourse in impact assessment research on how to deal with more complex organizations and projects. We argue that there is growing need and recognition for cross-fertilization between the two areas. Cross-sector partnerships are reaching a paradigmatic status in society, but both research (...) and practice need more thorough evidence of their impacts and of the conditions under which these impacts can be enhanced. This paper develops a framework that should enable a constructive interchange between the two research areas, while also framing existing research into more precise categories that can lead to knowledge accumulation. We address the preconditions for such a framework and discuss how the constituent parts of this framework interact. We distinguish four different pathways or impact loops that refer to four distinct orders of impact. The paper concludes by applying these insights to the four papers included in this special issue. (shrink)
Non è un caso che l’enhancement umano, cioè il potenziamento di capacità fisiche, cognitive ed emotive degli esseri umani con l’ausilio di tecnologie, sia diventato un tema centrale nei dibattiti etico-applicativi e nei tentativi contemporanei di arrivare a una comprensione più adeguata della natura umana. In esso si incontrano quesiti decisamente ricchi e complessi, sia dal punto di vista tecnoscientifico e medico sia da quello filosofico – e lo fanno in un modo che ci permette di vedere questi quesiti (...) sotto una nuova luce. Il numero raccoglie alcune voci italiane, tedesche, inglesi e statunitensi su diversi aspetti della problematica dell’enhancement umano. Tra le tematiche discusse troviamo il potenziamento genetico, le dimensioni etiche dell’enhancement, la relazione uomo-tecnologia, il cosiddetto enhancement morale, la relazione tra enhancement ed eugenetica, la distinzione tra potenziamento e terapia e la rilevanza delle neuroscienze per lo sviluppo futuro delle bio-tecnologie, della medicina e dell’etica. (shrink)
Biomedical technologies can increasingly be used not only to combat disease, but also to augment the capacities or traits of normal, healthy people – a practice commonly referred to as biomedical enhancement. Perhaps the best‐established examples of biomedical enhancement are cosmetic surgery and doping in sports. But most recent scientific attention and ethical debate focuses on extending lifespan, lifting mood, and augmenting cognitive capacities.
A common objection to moral enhancement is that it would undermine our moral freedom and that this is a bad thing because moral freedom is a great good. Michael Hauskeller has defended this view on a couple of occasions using an arresting thought experiment called the 'Little Alex' problem. In this paper, I reconstruct the argument Hauskeller derives from this thought experiment and subject it to critical scrutiny. I claim that the argument ultimately fails because (a) it assumes that (...) moral freedom is an intrinsic good when, in fact, it is more likely to be an axiological catalyst; and (b) there are reasons to think that moral enhancement does not undermine moral freedom. (shrink)
As the President's Council on Bioethics emphasized in a recent report, rapid growth of biotechnologies creates increasingly many possibilities for enhancing human traits. This article addresses the claim that enhancement via biotechnology is inherently problematic for reasons pertaining to our identity. After clarifying the concept of enhancement, and providing a framework for understanding human identity, I examine the relationship between enhancement and identity. Then I investigate two identity-related challenges to biotechnological enhancements: (1) the charge of inauthenticity and (...) (2) the charge of violating inviolable core characteristics. My thesis is that a lucid, plausible understanding of human identity largely neutralizes these charges, liberating our thinking from some seductive yet unsound objections to enhancement via biotechnology. (shrink)
Imagine a world where everyone is healthy, intelligent, long living and happy. Intuitively this seems wonderful albeit unrealistic. However, recent scienti c breakthroughs in genetic engineering, namely CRISPR/Cas bring the question into public discourse, how the genetic enhancement of humans should be evaluated morally. In 2001, when preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), enabled parents to select between multiple embryos, Julian Savulescu introduced the principle of procreative bene cence (PPB), stating that parents have the obligations to (...) choose the child that is expected to have the best life. In this paper I argue that accepting the PPB and the consequentialist principle (CP) that two acts with the same consequences are morally on par, commits one to accepting the parental obligation of genetically enhancing one's children. (shrink)
Promotion of pro-social attitudes and moral behaviour is a crucial and challenging task for social orders. As traditional ways such as moral education have some, but apparently and unfortunately only limited effect, some authors have suggested employing biomedical means such as pharmaceuticals or electrical stimulation of the brain to alter individual psychologies in a more direct way — moral bioenhancement. One of the salient questions in the nascent ethical debate concerns the impact of such interventions on human freedom. Advocates argue (...) that moral bioenhancements do not pose a serious threat to freedom. This contention, however, is based on an overly narrow, if not impoverished, sense of freedom, which comprises only freedom of action and freedom of will. Mind-altering interventions primarily affect another sense of freedom: freedom of mind, a concept that has not received much attention although it should rank among the most important legal and political freedoms. The article introduces three senses of mental freedom potentially infringed upon by moral bioenhancement and places it in a broader perspective. Ignorance of mental freedom has far-ranging consequences for the shape of the political and legal order at large. As many advocates are apparently not aware of the freedoms they seek to undermine, their calls for moral enhancement programmes are dangerously premature. (shrink)
Much of the debate about the ethics of enhancement has proceeded according to two framing assumptions. The first is that although enhancement carries large social risks, the chief benefits of enhancement are to those who are enhanced (or their parents, in the case of enhancing the traits of children). The second is that, because we now understand the wrongs of state-driven eugenics, enhancements, at least in liberal societies, will be personal goods, chosen or not chosen in a (...) market for enhancement services. This article argues that both framing assumptions must be rejected, once it is understood that some enhancements— especially those that are most likely to garner resources and become widespread— will increase human productivity. Once one appreciates the productivity-increasing potential of enhancements, one can begin to see that enhancement need not be primarily a zero sum affair, that the social costs of forgoing enhancements may be great, and that the state may well take an interest in facilitating biomedical enhancements, just as it does in facilitating education and other productivity-increasing traditional enhancements. Appreciating the productivity-increasing potential of enhancements also makes it possible to view the enhancement debate in a new light, through the lens of the ethics of development. (shrink)
This paper presents the results of a study of the effect of a business ethics course in enhancing the ability of students to recognize ethical issues. The findings show that compared to students who do not complete such a course, students enrolled in a business ethics course experience substantial improvement in that ability.
This paper examines the claims in the debate on cognitive enhancement in neuroethics that society wide pressure to enhance can be expected in the near future. The author uses rational choice modeling to test these claims and proceeds with the analysis of proposed types of solutions. The discourage use, laissez-faire and prohibition types of policy are scrutinized for effectiveness, legitimacy and associated costs. Special attention is given to the moderately liberal discourage use policy (and the gate-keeper and taxation approaches (...) within this framework), as many authors presuppose that this type of policy would best serve public interest. Different more or less articulated models in the taxation approach (Tobacco regulation analogy, Coffee-shop system, Regulatory Authority for Cognitive Enhancements and Economic Disincentives Model) are analyzed from the point of view of justificatory liberalism. The author concludes that prohibition and laissez-faire types of policy would neither be effective nor justified. A moderately liberal public policy shows more promise, but not all approaches within this type of policy would be legitimate and effective. The “gate-keeper” approach and related models could not be justified whereas approach based on taxation with suitable models might be legitimate and effective. (shrink)
We respond to a number of objections raised by John Harris in this journal to our argument that we should pursue genetic and other biological means of morally enhancing human beings (moral bioenhancement). We claim that human beings now have at their disposal means of wiping out life on Earth and that traditional methods of moral education are probably insufficient to achieve the moral enhancement required to ensure that this will not happen. Hence, we argue, moral bioenhancement should be (...) sought and applied. We argue that cognitive enhancement and technological progress raise acute problems because it is easier to harm than to benefit. We address objections to this argument. We also respond to objections that moral bioenhancement: (1) interferes with freedom; (2) cannot be made to target immoral dispositions precisely; (3) is redundant, since cognitive enhancement by itself suffices. (shrink)
It is plausible that we have moral reasons to become better at conforming to our moral reasons. However, it is not always clear what means to greater moral conformity we should adopt. John Harris has recently argued that we have reason to adopt traditional, deliberative means in preference to means that alter our affective or conative states directly—that is, without engaging our deliberative faculties. One of Harris’ concerns about direct means is that they would produce only a superficial kind of (...) moral improvement. Though they might increase our moral conformity, there is some deeper kind of moral improvement that they would fail to produce, or would produce to a lesser degree than more traditional means. I consider whether this concern might be justified by appeal to the concept of moral worth. I assess three attempts to show that, even where they were equally effective at increasing one’s moral conformity, direct interventions would be less conducive to moral worth than typical deliberative alternatives. Each of these attempts is inspired by Kant’s views on moral worth. Each, I argue, fails. (shrink)
Moral enhancement is an ostensibly laudable project. Who wouldn’t want people to become more moral? Still, the project’s approach is crucial. We can distinguish between two approaches for moral enhancement: direct and indirect. Direct moral enhancements aim at bringing about particular ideas, motives or behaviors. Indirect moral enhancements, by contrast, aim at making people more reliably produce the morally correct ideas, motives or behaviors without committing to the content of those ideas, motives and/or actions. I will argue, on (...) Millian grounds, that the value of disagreement puts serious pressure on proposals for relatively widespread direct moral enhancement. A more acceptable path would be to focus instead on indirect moral enhancements while staying neutral, for the most part, on a wide range of substantive moral claims. I will outline what such indirect moral enhancement might look like, and why we should expect it to lead to general moral improvement. (shrink)
Some philosophers have criticized the use of psychopharmaceuticals on the grounds that even if these drugs enhance the person using them, they threaten their authenticity. Others have replied by pointing out that the conception of authenticity upon which this argument rests is contestable; on a rival conception, psychopharmaceuticals might be used to enhance our authenticity. Since, however, it is difficult to decide between these competing conceptions of authenticity, the debate seems to end in a stalemate. I suggest that we need (...) not resolve this debate to end the stalemate. New technologies which alter the self can be understood within the framework of the first conception of authenticity, I suggest, not as threatening the authentic self, but rather as bringing the outward appearance of the self into line with its deepest essence. Since psychopharmaceutical use can plausibly be understood on this model, it can be seen as enhancing our authenticity on either conception. (shrink)
Sport is one of the first areas in which enhancement has become commonplace. It is also one of the first areas in which the use of enhancement technologies has been heavily regulated. Some have thus seen sport as a testing ground for arguments about whether to permit enhancement. However, I argue that there are fairness-based objections to enhancement in sport that do not apply as strongly in some other areas of human activity. Thus, I claim that (...) there will often be a stronger case for permitting enhancement outside of sport than for permitting enhancement in sport. I end by considering some methodological implications of this conclusion. (shrink)
Recently, Brummett and Crutchfield advanced two critiques of theists who object to moral enhancement. First, a conceptual critique: theists who oppose moral enhancement commonly do so because virtue is thought to be acquired only via a special kind of process. Enhancement does not involve such processes. Hence, enhancement cannot produce virtue. Yet theists also commonly claim that God is perfectly virtuous and not subject to processes. If virtue requires a process and God is perfectly virtuous without (...) a process, however, then theists contradict themselves. Second, a moral critique: theists who reject moral enhancement are selfish, since accepting moral enhancement would (allegedly) reduce widespread suffering. Theists often condemn selfishness, however. By condemning selfishness and (simultaneously) rejecting enhancement, therefore, theists contradict themselves yet again. We argue that both critiques fail. Both substantially misrepresent their target. First, Brummett and Crutchfield confuse metaphysical enhancement (attempts to alter human nature) with moral enhancement (attempts to become better human beings). Authors that Brummett and Crutchfield cite object to the former, not the latter. Second, both conceptual and moral critiques overlook the many resources within theistic traditions that can quickly resolve relevant (alleged) contradictions. The conceptual critique, for example, misrepresents both common views held among theists (regarding God’s virtue) and the ways in which virtue may be acquired. Similarly, the moral critique mischaracterizes the relationship commonly posited by theists between enhancement and agency. By attending to what theists actually claim—rather than relying on caricatures—it becomes clear that each of Brummett and Crutchfield’s critiques fail. (shrink)