The epistemology of cognitive enhancement

Carter, J. A. and Pritchard, D. (2019) The epistemology of cognitive enhancement. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 44(2), pp. 220-242. (doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhy040) (PMID:30877778)

132394.pdf - Accepted Version



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.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Carter, Dr J Adam
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 (Online):1744-5019
Published Online:16 March 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 44(2):220-242
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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