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Chatterjee, Anjan, , . The promise and predicament of cosmetic neurology
2006, Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (2): 110-113
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: Advances in cognitive neuroscience make cosmetic neurology in some form inevitable and will give rise to extremely difficult ethical issues.

Comment: This short paper introduces the ethical challenges related to cognitive enhancement. It lists some existing enhancing drugs, discusses the differences between developing drugs which treat diseases and those developed to enhance healthy individuals. The ethical challenges it considers include: safety and possible harmfulness of enhancing drugs; whether suffering and hardships are integral parts of human development and thus removing them might be problematic; whether the possibility of enhancement won’t result in explicit and implicit coercive pressure to enhance, at the cost of human happiness. Chatterjee’s text will serve well as an introduction to human enhancement in medical and applied ethics classes. In higher level classes it will be useful to supplement it with other, more in-depth papers engaging with specific problems.

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Figdor, Carrie, , . Neuroscience and the multiple realization of cognitive functions
2010, Philosophy of Science 77 (3):419-456.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Carrie Figdor

Article: Many empirically minded philosophers have used neuroscientific data to argue against the multiple realization of cognitive functions in existing biological organisms. I argue that neuroscientists themselves have proposed a biologically based concept of multiple realization as an alternative to interpreting empirical findings in terms of one-to-one structure/function mappings. I introduce this concept and its associated research framework and also how some of the main neuroscience-based arguments against multiple realization go wrong.

Comment: This is a direct reply to Bechtel and Mundale (1999) and I know some more aware people have paired it with that paper in the classroom. It’s philosophy of neuroscience, philosophy of mind.

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Series, Peggy, , Mark Sprevak. From Intelligent machines to the human brain
2014, in M. Massimi (ed.), Philosophy and the Sciences for Everyone. Routledge
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Summary: How does one make a clever adaptive machine that can recognise speech, control an aircraft, and detect credit card fraud? Recent years have seen a revolution in the kinds of tasks computers can do. Underlying these advances is the burgeoning field of machine learning and computational neuroscience. The same methods that allow us to make clever machines also appear to hold the key to understanding ourselves: to explaining how our brain and mind work. This chapter explores this exciting new field and some of the philosophical questions that it raises.

Comment: Really good chapter that could serve to introduce scientific ideas behind the mind-computer analogy. The chapter zooms in on the actual functioning of the human mind as a computer able to perform computations. Recommendable for undergraduate students in Philosophy of Mind or Philosophy of science courses.

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