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Manipulating the Mind: The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement

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abstract
Cognitive enhancement involves the use of any natural or artificial intervention to improve cognitive functions--memory, learning, attention, focus, wakefulness, and so on--in normal individuals. Although many interventions including education and the use of computers can be called cognitive enhancers, it is the more unconventional means of cognitive enhancement that tends to be the center of ethical debate. These more unconventional methods include pharmacological, mechanical and genetic interventions. There are numerous arguments for and against cognitive enhancements in general that fall into the four principles of bioethics--respect for autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. In addition to the ethical considerations that overlap between the three methods of achieving cognitive enhancement, each method also poses unique ethical issues that fall into the same principles. This thesis includes an analysis of both the broad ethical considerations surrounding cognitive enhancement in general and the method-specific ethical considerations. The purpose of this discussion is to integrate the current state of research with an analysis of the current ethical debate to determine the moral permissibility of cognitive enhancements. Ultimately, I conclude that the balance of the ethical debate is in favor of allowing the use of cognitive enhancements as a matter of personal choice.
subject
cognition
enhancement
ethics
learning
memory
methylphenidate
contributor
Daigle, Kelly Renee (author)
King, Nancy M.P. (committee chair)
Godwin, Dwayne W. (committee member)
Iltis, Ana S. (committee member)
date
2011-02-16T21:42:24Z (accessioned)
2012-12-15T09:30:08Z (available)
2010 (issued)
degree
Bioethics (discipline)
embargo
2012-12-15 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/30407 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Manipulating the Mind: The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement
type
Thesis

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