Against Paternalistic Views on Neuroenhancement: A Libertarian Evolutionary Account
Keywords:Enhancement , Paternalistic
AbstractThe term “enhancement” has come to represent a very precise form of improving individual skills. By means of pharmaceutics, surgery, and reproductive technology, all originally intended for clinical use, healthy individuals may improve their cognitive and emotional capacities for many reasons, such as to gain a competitive edge. In today’s society, cognitive performance and mood assume a more relevant role than physical ability if one aspires to emerge above the average. In this paper, we present and discuss common views on “neuroenhancement,” a term often used to describe the use of artificial means that interfere with brain function to improve cognitive skills. Most philosophical arguments and beliefs on the topic are based on some inappropriate distinctions and definitions which favour unfruitful alarmist attitudes and may obscure the complexity of the issue. In particular, we point out that both radical prohibitionist and libertarian approaches are affected by paternalistic ideas ......