Submission Date

7-24-2015

Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Department

Philosophy

Second Department

Neuroscience

Faculty Mentor

Kelly Sorensen

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

The human brain is often described as one of the most complicated objects in the known universe; it has hundreds of billions of neurons, each connected to tens of thousands of other neurons, operating in a seemingly miraculous way. Research in neuroscience is a thriving field that has led to many incredible discoveries. As new technologies arise in the field, it is necessary to evaluate how to use these new technologies in an ethical way. Recently, scientists have developed pharmaceutical means that can treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.). When taken by neurotypical individuals, these drugs have affects that can enhance the cognitive processes within the brain. Some of these drugs have been used by the military to maintain focus and attentiveness on long missions. These drugs have also been introduced into the workplace and among students to improve productivity. Many see this new discovery as a way to further enhance society, but there are also many ethical concerns associated with taking a pill as a cognitive enhancer. Some of the most prevalent concerns include health risks and fairness. Is it safe to take any of these cognitive enhancing drugs? Is it fair to take a drug to enhance cognition if these drugs are not available to everyone? My research examines these issues in further detail to determine if it is ever morally permissible to take a cognitive enhancing drug.

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