The Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement

Topics: Nootropic, Caffeine, Modafinil Pages: 4 (1312 words) Published: December 10, 2011
Achievement is valued highly in our society. Coaches want their players to give 110 percent, professors encourage their students to study harder, and parents want to see their children become the best person they can be. Not only do we want to "keep up with the Joneses," we want to surpass them. In the pursuit of excellence, some people will take drugs as an enhancement for their cognitive abilities. What makes this path to excellence ethically questionable? There are two large issues to using cognitive enhancements: fairness and the pressure to use them. While there may be nothing intrinsically wrong with using cognitive enhancers, the use of these drugs will likely have major side-effects on society which need to be taken into consideration. Cognitive enhancements have been proven to increase mental capacity in healthy people. This gives them an advantage over their peers who are not using these drugs. This will apply pressure on normal people to use enhancements in order to gain this advantage. If nobody in a workplace is using enhancements, the temptation to start using them will exist to gain an edge. If everyone in a workplace is using enhancements, then those coming into that workplace would also need to use them in order to be competitive. If cognitive enhancements were made legal for all people, the use would become very widespread and some companies may even make it mandatory to increase productivity. There would probably not be an issue with most people using cognitive enhancements if they came with no side effects and it was the cultural norm. One of the concerns that come up with using these drugs is the availability factor. Unless cognitive enhancements are available to everyone, they should not be legalized. If enhancements are expensive, this will give the wealthy population another advantage over the poor. Wealthy students already have an advantage in being able to afford tutors, attend private schools, go to college, etc. Leon...
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