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Better Brains or Bitter Brains? The Ethics of Neuroenhancement

Part of the Trends in Augmentation of Human Performance book series (TAHP,volume 1)

Abstract

The topic of enhancement emerges as a novel, contemporary problem in medical ethics. In particular, neuroenhancement reveals itself as a challenging subject due to the advancements of neuroscience. At present, pharmacological neuroenhancement is widely debated, but only scarce empirical data exist regarding its prevalence. Arguments for and against neuroenhancement relate to various disciplines, such as medicine, anthropology, sociology, and classical ethics. Medical considerations caution against the use of pharmaceutical neuroenhancers because of medical risks, the lack of evidence-based medicine, and financial challenges to health care systems. Perspectives on neuroenhancement from the humanities involve the concepts of human nature, virtue ethics, liberty, and justice. The purposes behind neuroenhancement are disputable with regard to their social value. In conclusion, neuroenhancement appears to remain a controversial phenomenon.

Keywords

  • Neuroenhancement
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical risks
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Liberty
  • Justice

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Correspondence to Kirsten Brukamp .

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Brukamp, K. (2013). Better Brains or Bitter Brains? The Ethics of Neuroenhancement. In: Hildt, E., Franke, A. (eds) Cognitive Enhancement. Trends in Augmentation of Human Performance, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6253-4_9

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