The Neuroethics of Transcranial Electrical Stimulation
Levy N., Savulescu J.
© 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. The use of interventions into the mind and body to treat a diagnosed disorder or disease is uncontroversial, but it is very controversial whether interventions aimed at enhancing function in the absence of disease or disorder are acceptable or not. In this chapter we focus on transcranial electrical stimulation used as a cognitive enhancer, and aim to assess the case for and against its use. We first show that the treatment/enhancement distinction cannot be invoked to draw a distinction between acceptable and unacceptable uses of interventions. We then proceed to assess transcranial electrical stimulation against five common objections to the use of cognitive enhancements, which we call the safety, authenticity, cheating, social justice, and positional goods objections. Though we think that some of these objections provide reasons for caution with regard to the use of some cognitive enhancements, we argue that transcranial electrical stimulation is not seriously troubled by any of them.