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Commentary: Cognitive Enhancement: Are the Claims of Critics “Good Enough”?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2017


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1. Greely, H, Sahakian, B, Harris, J, Kessler, RC, Gazzaniga, M, Campbell, P, Farah, MJ. Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy. Nature 2008;456(7223):702–5, at 703.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

2. Some supporters of enhancement technologies even argue that it is not only morally permissible to use enhancement technologies to make people more healthy, longer-lived and smarter, but that we are morally obliged to do so (e.g., Harris J. Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People. Princeton: Oxford University Press; 2010; or Savulescu J. Genetic interventions and the ethics of enhancement of human. In: Steinbock B, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007:516–35.). It is beyond the scope of this commentary to discuss this issue and take a position on it.

3. Mehlman, MJ. Cognition-enhancing drugs. The Milbank Quarterly 2004;82(3):483506, at 492.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

4. See note 3, Mehlman 2011, at 127.

5. Garasic MD, Lavazza A. Moral and social reasons to acknowledge the use of cognitive enhancers in competitive-selective contexts. BMC Medical Ethics, 2016; available at (last accessed 19 Jan 2017).

6. Ms. P. mentions piracetam. If we imagine that the authors of the vignette have the United States context in mind, this is additionally troublesome.