Ethics in the Life Sciences – DRZE Expert Reports; Volume 21
Jan-Hendrik Heinrichs / Markus Rüther / Mandy Stake / Julia Ihde

Commissioned by the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences
Edited by Dieter Sturma and Dirk Lanzerath.

Neuroenhancement concerns the improvement of a person’s mental properties, abilities, and performance. These improvements can be achieved by diverse techniques and with different targets. Biochemical substances, medical devices, and behavioural strategies are employed in order to enhance, for example, cognition and mood.

The improvement of mental and physical properties, abilities, and performance has always been part of cultural history. The various techniques of neuroenhancement offer new opportunities of such improvement, but also come with substantive perils. Their employment may promote people’s autonomy by facilitating self-expression. At the same time, however, these techniques may also undermine people’s autonomy by making them the object of instrumentalization. Neuroenhancement thus involves significant normative challenges for individual persons as well as for society as a whole. In considering how neuroenhancement can be employed ethically, the benefits and risks must be carefully analysed.

This expert report provides a concise overview of the contemporary debate on neuroenhancement. It discusses the definition, techniques and targets of neuroenhancement and examines arguments for and against it at the level of individual persons, social interaction, and social policy.

SB 21
© Verlag Karl Alber

DOI10.5771/9783495999615   open access

ISBN: 978-3-495-49180-5 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-3-495-99961-5 (e-book)

Publisher: Verlag Karl Alber, Baden-Baden

Year of publication: 2022

Pages: 117

Languages: English

Price: 19,- € (paperback)

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