본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Ethical Debate on Cognitive Enhancement

SangMok Lee 1 Jong hyun Choi 2

1동아대학교
2부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since the last part of the 20th century, some healthy people have widely used central nervous system stimulants as cognitive enhancers and this phenomenon has become not only a social issue but also an important academic issue. When some scholars, especially neuroethicsts seek to legalize the cognitive enhancers used by healthy adults, there has been a huge debate over legalizing cognitive enhancement. Critics on cognitive enhancement point out five ethical problems if cognitive enhancement would be allowed by the pharmaceutical authority and widely spread in a western society. First, cognitive enhancement has a safety problem and could cause various side effects, addiction, and cognitive tradeoff. Second, cognitive enhancement is morally undesirable because it is unnatural. Third, cognitive enhancement before the exam might be cheating. Forth, cognitive enhancement would cause social inequality and thus widen cognitive gap between riches and poors. Fifth, if cognitive enhancement would be allowed and widely spread among our society, many people might face pressure to take cognitive enhancers for winning the competition or doing their work well. However, proponents on cognitive enhancement argue that these ethical concerns are exaggerated or will be resolved near in the future. They also argue that together with discussing cognitive enhancement, the evidence-based research on cognitive enhancement should take place and this would clearly reveal the risk and benefit of cognitive enhancers.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.