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(Neuro-)Enhancement

  • Bettina Schöne-Seifert
  • Davinia Talbot
Chapter
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 45)

Abstract

According to available data, the use of medical – especially psychopharmacological – means for enhancing healthy individuals’ mood or cognitive function already seems popular among certain groups – and might well increase in the near future. This article sheds some light on ethical considerations for such a ‘neuro-enhancement’ practice. After a brief look at its history and at some of its conceptual difficulties, potential neuro-enhancement means are introduced to prepare the ground for debating ethical questions. Focus topics relating to self-chosen enhancements are risk-taking, autonomy or authenticity of the individual, a potential erosion of human nature or human virtue, issues of social fairness and latent social pressures. Focus topics relating to third-person-induced neuro-enhancement, in particular ‘improving’ children are concerns about a child’s best interests, its right to an open future and the proper limits of parental influence. Other ethical issues addressed in the paper are the role of doctors in neuro-enhancement, and matters of research policy in this field.

Keywords

Deep Brain Stimulation Sleep Deprivation Cosmetic Surgery Professional Ethic Cognitive Enhancement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

ADS

Attention-Deficit-Syndrome

AMPA

α-Amino-3-Hydroxyl-5-Methyl-4-Isoxazole-Propionate

CREB

cycloAMP Response Element Binding Protein

DAK

Deutsche Angestellten-Krankenkasse

DBS

Deep Brain Stimulation

IQWIG

Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen

NICE

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

SAS

Sleep-Apnoe-Syndrome

SSRI

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor

TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank our research partners Thorsten Galert, Reinhard Merkel, Christoph Bublitz, Isabella Heuser and Dimitris Repantis with whom we cooperate in the project ‘Potentiale und Risiken des pharmazeutischen Enhancements psychischer Eigenschaften’ (Potentials and risks of pharmacologically enhancing psychological capacities) which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (2007–2009). We are particularly grateful for Isabella Heuser’s brilliant suggestions on an earlier version of the manuscript. Further, we would like to thank our two unknown reviewers for their critical comments, and Silke Tandetzki for her help with the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Ethik, Geschichte und Theorie der MedizinMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Ethik, Geschichte und Theorie der MedizinMünsterGermany

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