Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cognitive enhancement, legalising opium, and cognitive biases

By Joao Fabiano
Practical Ethics Blog
Originally published November 18, 2014

Suppose you want to enhance your cognition. A scientist hands you two drugs. Drug X has at least 19 controlled studies on the healthy individual showing it is effective, and while a handful of studies report a slight increase in blood pressure, another dozen conclude it is safe and non-addictive. Drug Y is also effective, but it increases mortality, has addiction potential and withdrawal symptoms. Which one do you choose? Great. Before you reach out for Drug X, the scientist warns you, “I should add, however, that Drug Y has been used by certain primitive communities for centuries, while Drug X has not.” Which one do you choose? Should this information have any bearing on your choice? I don’t think so. You probably conclude that primitive societies do all sort of crazy things and you would be better off with actual, double-blind, controlled studies.

The entire blog post is here.