PHIL 105

Neuroethics and Human Enhancement

This course examines the ethical, political, and philosophical questions raised by some of the new forms of human enhancement made available by breakthroughs in science and technology, from fields like neuroscience and genetic engineering. For example: Should parents be allowed to use genetic screening or modification to create "designer children," either for the purpose of avoiding diseases and other ailments or to select desired traits such as their child's intelligence, athletic ability, or good looks? Should humans pursue immortality or, failing that, radically extended lifespans? Is there any important ethical difference between artificial and natural intelligence, and will the former soon surpass the latter? What justification is there, if any, for regarding the use of steroids in athletics as a form of cheating while regarding the use of weight training regimens as fair game? Is the goal of human enhancement compatible with the pursuit of social equality? What constitutes the self, as opposed to the tools or pieces of technology that a self uses?