Neuroenhancement of children and adolescents raises ethical questions

2019-06-25

How much should we be allowed to shape your children? And what are the ethical an social questions that arise from enhancing young people? Lately, discussions on “neuroenhancement” have become relevant, both in academia, medical practice and among the public. A recent book edited by Saskia Nagel offers a unique collection of articles on pediatric neuroenhancement.

There are a number of different psychopharmaceutical agents and other neurotechnologies with enhancement potential on the market. Autonomous adults are free to choose when it comes to neuroenhancement. However, the same kind of interventions in children raise their own set of ethical, social, and legal questions. 

Shaping ChildrenThe book, published by Springer, offers conceptual and normative work on autonomy and self-control and explores the implications of neuroenhancement for parenting and schooling. It also provides input for a discussion of public attitudes. According to Saskia Nagel, the book will be a valuable resource for academics who are confronted with questions of how to understand, evaluate, and approach enhancement in children and adolescents. The texts are of interest to neuroethicists, scholars in applied ethics and neurology, psychiatrists and psychologists, and scientists researching enhancement interventions for children.

Nagel, SK (ed), Shaping Children: Ethical and social questions that arise when enhancing the young, Springer 2019, ISBN 978-3-030-10677-5.

By Josepine Fernow

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About Saskia Nagel

Saskia Nagel leads SIENNA's human enhancement work stream. She is full Professor of Applied Ethics at Aachen University (Germany) and Associate Professor in philosophy and ethics of technology at the University of Twente (The Netherlands). Her areas of expertise and research interests lie at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, the life sciences (in particular neuroscience and cognitive science), and technologies. She has led a research group studying the ethical, anthropological, and social implications of our growing knowledge about the brain’s plasticity. She co-authored the first position paper on pediatric enhancement, which was supported by several major US American physician associations.

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