Zeitschrift für Ethik und Moralphilosophie

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 321–342 | Cite as

Enhancement: Consequentialist Arguments

  • Jan-Hendrik HeinrichsEmail author
  • Mandy Stake


Enhancement, the improvement of mental capacities with psychoactive substances and technologies has stimulated one of the largest debates in contemporary bioethics. Surprisingly few participants in this debate take note of the tendentious legal status of psychoactive pharmaceuticals as the primary means of enhancement.

Enhancement technologies and substances have measurable effects on specific measurable cognitive functions. A major issue of contention in the debate is how to evaluate these effects, i. e. which theory of value to use. It is contested whether the pleasures and achievements resulting from the use of enhancement can be counted as such or can be ignored or devaluate by calling them fraudulent or inauthentic.

The alleged and real benefits of enhancement are not expected to be evenly distributed, nor is it always clear whether enhancement is a zero-sum game or has benefits even for the non-users. This results in a complex structure of risks and benefits for individuals and groups, which needs to be broken down in detail.


Enhancement Consequentialism Authenticity Axiology Psychopharmaceuticals 



We want to thank our colleagues at the Institute for Ethics in the Neurosciences at Forschungszentrum Jülich, who provided ample and helpful input in several debates. A special thanks goes to Markus Rüther, who will co-author one part of this little series and significantly helped to shape the whole.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin, INM-8: Ethik in den NeurowissenschaftenForschungszentrum Jülich GmbH in der Helmholtz GemeinschaftJülichGermany
  2. 2.Deutsches Referenzzentrum für Ethik in den BiowissenschaftenBonnGermany

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