"Cognitive Enhancement and the Principle of Need"

“Cognitive Enhancement and the Principle of Need” byBarbro Frding andNiklas Juth has been published in the most recent issue of Neuroethics:


In this article we argue that

(i) the principle of need, on some interpretations, could be used to justify the spending of publicly funded health care resources on cognitive enhancement and

(ii) that this also holds true for individuals whose cognitive capacities are considered normal.

The increased, and to an extent, novel demands that the modern technology and information society places on the cognitive capacities of agents, e.g., regarding good and responsible decision-making, have blurred the line between treatment and enhancement. More specifically, it has shifted upwards. As a consequence, principles of need on their most reasonable interpretations can be used to support publically funded cognitive enhancement. At least this is so, if broader aims than curing and ameliorating diseases are included in the goals of health care. We suggest that it would be plausible to see health care as accepting such broader goals already today.