"Living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good we can." - Peter Singer
"Common sense is not so common." - Voltaire
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cognitive biases can affect moral intuitions about cognitive enhancement

Lucius Caviola, Adriano Mannino, Julian Savulescu and Nadira Faulmüller
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 2014; 8: 195.
Published online 2014 Oct 15.

Abstract

Research into cognitive biases that impair human judgment has mostly been applied to the area of economic decision-making. Ethical decision-making has been comparatively neglected. Since ethical decisions often involve very high individual as well as collective stakes, analyzing how cognitive biases affect them can be expected to yield important results. In this theoretical article, we consider the ethical debate about cognitive enhancement (CE) and suggest a number of cognitive biases that are likely to affect moral intuitions and judgments about CE: status quo bias, loss aversion, risk aversion, omission bias, scope insensitivity, nature bias, and optimistic bias. We find that there are more well-documented biases that are likely to cause irrational aversion to CE than biases in the opposite direction. This suggests that common attitudes about CE are predominantly negatively biased. Within this new perspective, we hope that subsequent research will be able to elaborate this hypothesis and develop effective de-biasing techniques that can help increase the rationality of the public CE debate and thus improve our ethical decision-making.

The article is here.
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