The epistemology of cognitive enhancement

J. Adam Carter, Duncan Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A common epistemological assumption in contemporary bioethics held b y both proponents and critics of non-traditional forms of cognitive enhancement is that cognitive enhancement aims at the facilitation of the accumulation of human knowledge. This paper 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 220–242
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • epistemology
  • bioethics
  • Enhancement

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  • Group Knowledge

    Palermos, S. O., Pritchard, D., Carter, J. A. & Kallestrup, J.

    1/02/14 → …

    Project: Other (Non-Funded/Miscellaneous)

  • Epistemology of Education

    Carter, J. A.

    1/01/1431/12/16

    Project: Research Collaboration with external organisation

  • Extended Knowledge

    Pritchard, D., Clark, A., Kallestrup, J., Carter, J. A. & Palermos, S. O.

    AHRC

    1/01/1315/02/16

    Project: Research

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