The epistemology of cognitive enhancement

Carter, J. A. and Pritchard, D. (2017) The epistemology of cognitive enhancement. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

A common epistemological assumption in contemporary bioethics held by 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.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Accepted for Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carter, Dr Joseph
Authors: Carter, J. A., and Pritchard, D.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Journal of Medicine and Philosophy
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0360-5310
ISSN (Online):1744-5019

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