, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 85–99 | Cite as

The Normativity of Memory Modification

  • S. Matthew LiaoEmail author
  • Anders Sandberg
Original Paper


The prospect of using memory modifying technologies raises interesting and important normative concerns. We first point out that those developing desirable memory modifying technologies should keep in mind certain technical and user-limitation issues. We next discuss certain normative issues that the use of these technologies can raise such as truthfulness, appropriate moral reaction, self-knowledge, agency, and moral obligations. Finally, we propose that as long as individuals using these technologies do not harm others and themselves in certain ways, and as long as there is no prima facie duty to retain particular memories, it is up to individuals to determine the permissibility of particular uses of these technologies.


Memory Memory modification Enhancement Cognitive enhancement Ethical issues Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 



We would like to thank David Wasserman, Gustaf Arrhenisu, Wibke Gruetjen, and audiences at the Neuroethics/Philosophy and Neuroscience Mini-Symposium at Oxford University, Centre for Ethics in Medicine at Bristol University, the ENHANCE Workshop at the Stockholm Bioethics Centre at Stockholm University, for their comments on earlier versions of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford UniversityOxfordUK

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