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Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement$
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Ruud ter Meulen, Ahmed Mohammed, and Wayne Hall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727392.001.0001

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On the argument that enhancement is “cheating”1

On the argument that enhancement is “cheating”1

(p.213) Chapter 13 On the argument that enhancement is “cheating”1
Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement

Maartje Schermer

Oxford University Press

One frequently used argument against cognitive enhancement is that it is a form of cheating. This chapter analyzes the enhancement-is-cheating argument by comparing how it can be interpreted in the contexts of sports and education. If cheating is understood as breaking the rules in order to gain an unfair advantage over others, then indeed some enhancements are a form of cheating. This problem of cheating is, however, relatively easy to remedy by either changing the rules or instituting controls and sanctions. It is not, therefore, a categorical objection to enhancement. However, if sports and education are understood as “practices,” with their own internal goods and standards of excellence, some of the intuitions behind the cheating argument can be better articulated. Seen from this perspective, the important question is how enhancement technologies might be embedded in specific practices—or how they might corrode them.

Keywords:   cheating, sports, practice, internal goods, unfair advantage, excellence

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