Neuroethics

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 349–361 | Cite as

Does Kantian Ethics Condone Mood and Cognitive Enhancement?

Original Paper

Abstract

The author examines whether Kantian ethics would condone the use of pharmaceutical drugs to enhance one’s moods and cognitive abilities. If key assumptions concerning safety and efficacy, non-addictiveness, non-coercion, and accessibility are not met, Kantian ethics would consider mood and cognitive enhancement to be impermissible. But what if these assumptions are granted? The arguments for the permissibility of neuroenhancement are stronger than those against it. After giving a general account of Kantian ethical principles, the author argues that, when these assumptions are granted, Kantian ethics no longer justifies the prohibition of neuroenhancement, and responds to two objections.

Keywords

Applied ethics Kantian ethics Mood and cognitive enhancement Dignity Humanity, rational agency 

References

  1. 1.
    Meyers, C.D. 2014. Neuroenhancement in reflective equilibrium: a qualified Kantian defense of enhancing in scholarship and science. Neuroethics 7(3): 287–298.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chatterjee, Anjan 2013. Brain enhancement in healthy adults. Neuroethics in Practice: Medicine, Mind, and Society, ed. Anjan Chatterjee and Martha J. Farah, 3–15.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Zohny, Hazem. 2015. The myth of cognitive enhancement drugs. Neuroethics 8(3): 257–269.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    President’s Council on Bioethics. 2003. Happy souls. In In Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Vrecko, Scott. 2013. Just how cognitive is ‘cognitive enhancement’? On the significance of emotions in university students’ experiences with study drugs. AJOB Neuroscience 4(1): 4–12.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Juengst, Eric T. 1997. Can enhancement be distinguished from prevention in genetic medicine? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 22(2): 125–142.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    McCabe, Sean Esteban, Christian J. Teter, Carol J. Boyd, John R. Knight, and Henry Wechsler. 2005. Nonmedical use of prescription opioids among US college students: prevalence and correlates from a national survey. Addictive Behaviors 30(4): 789–805.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Maher, Brendan. 2008. Poll results: look who’s doping. Nature 452: 674–675.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Schulman, Adam. 2008. Bioethics and the question of human dignity. In Human dignity and bioethics: essays commissioned by the President’s council on bioethics, ed. Adam Schulman. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Babcock, Quinton, and Tom Byrne. 2000. Student perceptions of methylphenidate abuse at a public liberal arts college. Journal of American College Health 49(3): 143–145.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chatterjee, Anjan. 2007. Cosmetic neurology and cosmetic surgery: parallels, predictions, and challenges. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16(2): 129–137.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Goodwin, Guy (2015). Cited in The Guardian, 19 August 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/20/narcolepsy-medication-modafinil-worlds-first-safe-smart-drug. Accessed 22 Feb 2016.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Greely, Henry, Barbara Sahakian, John Harris, Ronald C. Kessler, Michael Gazzaniga, Philip Campbell, and Martha J. Farah. 2008. Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy. Philosophical Explorations 456(7223): 702–705.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Radoilska, Lubomira. 2010. An Aristotelian approach to cognitive enhancement. Journal of Value Inquiry 44(3): 365–375.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gunderson, Martin. 2007. Seeking perfection: a Kantian look at human genetic engineering. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28(2): 87–102.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kant, Immanuel. 1997. In Lectures on Ethics, ed. Peter Heath and J.B. Schneewind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Shell, Susan Meld. 2008. Kant’s concept of human dignity as a resource for bioethics. In Human dignity and bioethics: essays commissioned by the President’s council on bioethics, ed. Adam Schulman. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shell, Susan Meld. 1996. The embodiment of reason: Kant on Spirit, generation, and community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kant, Immanuel. 1996a. In Practical Philosophy, ed. Mary Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kant, Immanuel. 1996b. In Religion and Rational Theology, ed. Allen Wood and George di Giovanni. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    O’Neill, Onora. 2002. Autonomy and trust in bioethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Reath, Andrews. 2006. Agency and autonomy in Kant’s moral theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ripstein, Arthur. 2009. Force and freedom: Kant’s legal and political philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cuminsky, David. 1996. Kantian consequentialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wood, Allen W. 2008. Kantian ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Guyer, Paul. 2014. Kant. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Savulescu, Julian, Thomas Douglas, and Ingmar Persson. 2014. Autonomy and the ethics of biological behaviour modification. In The future of bioethics: international dialogues, ed. Akira Akabayashi, 91–112. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Murray, Thomas H. 2007. Enhancement. In The Oxford handbook of bioethics, ed. Bonnie Steinbock, 491–515. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kant, Immanuel. 2012. In Lectures on Anthropology, ed. Robert B. Louden and Allen Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nussbaum, Martha. 2008. Human dignity and political entitlements. In Human dignity and bioethics: essays commissioned by the President’s council on bioethics, ed. Adam Schulman. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kant, Immanuel. 2000. In Critique of the Power of Judgment, ed. Paul Guyer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Bostrom, Nick. 2008. Dignity and enhancement. In Human dignity and bioethics: essays commissioned by the President’s council on bioethics, ed. Adam Schulman. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sorensen, Kelly. 2014. Moral enhancement and self-subversion objections. Neuroethics 7(3): 275–286.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kant, Immanuel. 2007. In Anthropology, History, and Education, ed. Günter Zöller and Robert B. Louden. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentGwynedd Mercy UniversityGwynedd ValleyUSA

Personalised recommendations