Cognitive Enhancement and Other Technologies of the Mind – Fundamental and Ethical Questions (Conference, Bristol, 9-10 January 2013)

Anphicon 1: Cognitive Enhancement and Other Technologies of the Mind

9th & 10th January, 2013, Watershed Bristol & Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol

The aim of the Anphicon (Anthropotech + Philosophy) conferences is to explore the fundamental philosophical and ethical issues that are at stake in the debates surrounding technological alteration of the human body for the purposes of augmenting existing capacities, introducing new ones, or aesthetically improving the body – anthropotech.

Anphicon 1 approaches these questions through the lens of ‘cognitive enhancement and other technologies of the mind’. The goal is to take a critical perspective towards both the concepts of enhancement and cognition, asking questions such as:

  • Is cognition too narrow a frame to think about the technological alteration of the mind?
  • How value-loaded is the term ‘enhancement’?
  • What are we talking about enhancing when we talk about ‘cognitive enhancement’ and for what purposes?
  • What methodology serves to best investigate technological intervention into the body that results in alteration of conscious experience?
  • What are the relations between cognition, emotion, memory and will? And how do these relations impact on the debate over ‘cognitive enhancement’?

The conference also aims to address questions concerning:

  • Justice and fairness in the technological alteration of intellectual and affective capacities
  • The importance of neurodiversity and whether it is threatened by ‘cognitive enhancement’
  • The concept of neuro-ecology or ecology of the mind

These and others are the questions that we hope to address at Anphicon 1.

The Anphicon conferences are part of a wider collaboration between UWE Philosophy and the Centre for Ethics in Medicine (University of Bristol) that aims to explore the various philosophical and ethical dimensions of anthropotech. Anphicon 1 is sponsored by UWE’s SPUR3 Early Career Researcher grant programme, the UWE Applied Philosophy Research Group, the Royal Institute of Philosophy and the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol.

Organising Committee: Darian Meacham (UWE), Sylvie Allouche (UoB), Alex McKeown (UoB), Ruud ter Meulen (UoB), Heather Bradshaw (UoB).

Confirmed guest speakers: Jean-Michel Besnier (Paris), Jerome Goffette (Lyon), Michael Hauskeller (Exeter), Robin Mackenzie (Canterbury), David Roden (Bristol). More to follow.

For further information please contact Sylvie Allouche

2 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    Ethics is bullshit.

  2. Director_X says:

    Lol, ethics! Here is another discussion point:
    *Is it ethical to have a discussion on cognitive enhancement without first becoming enhanced cognitively? Isn’t this like special ed kids having a meeting about the AP students?
    *Would it be ethical to allow a few panel members to themselves become enhanced for the purpose of exploring perspectives post enhancement?
    *Should those augmented panel members be opposed to cognitive enhancement, would this be a clue that they intend to enslave us using their newly acquired god-tier cunning?
    *Should we allow citizens to then get augmented to defend themselves from our new overlords?
    *Is it nice to kill puppies?

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