Lecture by Dr. Cynthia Forlini (Deakin University/CAS Visiting Fellow)
Stakeholder and community engagement in bioethics are credited with the ability to provide empirical data that identify areas of contention and consensus on issues with social and regulatory implications. In turn, these data are expected to guide appropriate practice and policy. Cognitive enhancement is used as a case study to discuss how stakeholder engagement has advanced our understanding of human enhancement but also contributed blind spots to the ethics debate. The result is a bottleneck in data on the ethics of cognitive enhancement that hinders implementation of current knowledge. Drawing from empirical data on ethical issues and prevalence of cognitive enhancement, I propose three paths for new scholarship inspired by the empirical blind spots in the ethics of cognitive enhancement. Each path provides an opportunity to revisit assumptions made about cognitive enhancement as part of early anticipatory ethics scholarship. Those researching the ethics of cognitive enhancement ought to consider how to proceed sustainably by re-examining existing scholarship, prioritizing areas of inquiry, and adding novel high-quality data specifically and sparingly.