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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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Brain Waves

« Cognition, Complexity, and the Constitution | Main | Looking Backwards & Thinking Forward »

August 22, 2003

Diversity of the Mental Environment

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Posted by Wrye

By Wrye Sententia


Environmental diversity is a widely discussed requirement for maintaining and fostering a healthy ecosystem.  In the same way, mental diversity ensures creativity and flourishing open social systems by encouraging a multiplicity of approaches to thinking about, and solving, problems. 


Today, new drugs and other technologies developed for augmenting, monitoring, and manipulating cognition require social policies that will promote, rather than restrict, free thinking.  Applications of these technologies can benefit from clear principles that ensure cognitive liberty.


Here are three core considerations:



  • Privacy:  What and how you think should be private unless you choose to share it.  The use of technologies such as brain imaging and scanning must remain consensual and any information so revealed should remain confidential.  The right to privacy must be found to encompass the inner domain of thought.
  • Autonomy:  Self-determination over one’s own cognition is central to free will.  School boards, for example, should not be permitted to condition a child’s right to public education on taking a psychoactive drug such as Ritalin.  Decisions concerning whether or how to change a person’s thought processes must remain the province of the individual as opposed to government or industry.
  • Choice:  The capabilities of the human mind should not be limited.  So long as people do not directly harm others, governments should not criminally prohibit cognitive enhancement or the occasioning of any mental state. 

Comments (9) | Category: Neuroethics


COMMENTS

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