The epistemology of cognitive enhancement

J. Adam Carter, Duncan Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A common epistemological assumption in contemporary bioethics held by both proponents and critics of nontraditional forms of cognitive enhancement is that cognitive enhancement aims at the facilitation of the accumulation of human knowledge. This article does three central things. First, drawing from recent work in epistemology, a rival account of cognitive enhancement, framed in terms of the notion of cognitive achievement rather than knowledge, is proposed. Second, we outline and respond to an axiological objection to our proposal that draws from recent work by Leon Kass (2004), Michael Sandel (2009), and John Harris (2011) to the effect that "enhanced" cognitive achievements are (by effectively removing obstacles to success) not worthy of pursuit or are otherwise "trivial". Third, we show how the cognitive achievement account of cognitive enhancement proposed here fits snugly with recent active externalist approaches (e.g., extended cognition) in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

LanguageEnglish
Pages220-242
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy (United Kingdom)
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Cognitive Science
Bioethics
Cognition
Epistemology
Enhancement

Keywords

  • bioethics
  • cognitive achievement
  • cognitive enhancement
  • epistemic value
  • knowledge

Cite this

Carter, J. Adam ; Pritchard, Duncan. / The epistemology of cognitive enhancement. In: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (United Kingdom). 2019 ; Vol. 44, No. 2. pp. 220-242.
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The epistemology of cognitive enhancement. / Carter, J. Adam; Pritchard, Duncan.

In: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (United Kingdom), Vol. 44, No. 2, 04.2019, p. 220-242.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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