Special Lecture: Professor Jeff McMahan, "Cognitive Disability and Cognitive Enhancement"

Past Event

27 February 2009, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Abstract: There are some members of the human species whose cognitive capacities and potential are no higher than those of higher nonhuman animals. I will seek to explain why it is important for our understanding of various problems in bioethics to determine what the moral status of these human beings is. I will argue, for example, that they force us to reconsider the scope of certain principles of justice and equality. And I will suggest that it may help us to understand their moral status to consider the possibility that our progeny might be cognitively enhanced to such an extent that their capacities would exceed our own by more than ours exceed those of higher nonhuman animals.