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Seeking More than Health: Using Medicine for Enhancement
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The purpose of this essay is to examine some of the ethical concerns raised regarding the use of neuroenhancers. Authors such as Fukuyama and Sandel argue that medical intervention should be limited to treatment of disease, and that enhancement should be outside of the scope of medicine. This commentary will examine the distinction between treatment and enhancement. I shall conclude that it is not a well-drawn distinction and should not be used to provide guidance with regards to the use of psychopharmacological agents for the purpose of cognitive enhancement. I shall further examine whether concepts such as disability and normality could provide a criterion for determining whether enhancement is a permissible use of medical intervention. I conclude that as those concepts are contextually defined, they cannot be used to make principled arguments against enhancement. Finally, I shall review the charge that medicalization of cognitive performance enhancers is not morally permissible. I s...hall argue that medicalization might have both negative and positive consequences, and decisions about the moral permissibility of medicalization should be made on a case-by-case basis.