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Goodman CoGnitive enhanCement, CheatinG, and aCComplishment

Rob Goodman

Cognitive Enhancement, Cheating, and Accomplishment

ABSTRACT. An ethics of enhancement should not rest on blanket judgments; it should ask us to distinguish between the kinds of activities we want to enhance. Both students and academics have turned to cognition-enhancing drugs in significant numbersbut is their enhancement a form of cheating? The answer should hinge on whether the activity subject to enhancement is zero-sum or non-zero-sum, and whether one is more concerned with excellence in process or excellence in outcome. Cognitive enhancement should be especially tolerated when the activities at stake are non-zero-sum and when the importance of process is outweighed by the importance of outcome. The use of cognition-enhancing drugs does not unnaturally cheapen accomplishments achieved under their influence; instead, cognitive enhancement is in line with well-established conceptions of collaborative authorship, which shift the locus of praise and blame from individual creators to the ultimate products of their efforts.

n an essay on performance-enhancing drugs, author Chuck Klosterman (2007) argues that the category of enhancers extends from hallucinogens used to inspire music to steroids used to strengthen athletesand he criticizes those who would excuse one means of enhancement while railing against the other as a form of cheating:
After the summer of 1964, the Beatles started taking serious drugs, and those drugs altered their musical performance. Though it may not have been their overt intent, the Beatles took performance-enhancing drugs. And . . . absolutely no one holds it against them. No one views Rubber Soul and Revolver as less authentic albums, despite the fact that they would not (and probably could not) have been made by people who werent on drugs. . . . [Yet] baseball fans are outraged that Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for Stanozolol [an anabolic steroid].

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal Vol. 20, No. 2, 145160 2010 by The Johns Hopkins University Press

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Of course, Klostermans argument hinges on two assumptions: that the Beatles drug use improved the quality of their music, and that their drug use is universally excused. Although he may be exaggerating on both points, Klosterman still suggests a serious argument about our societys tolerance of performance-enhancing drugs: tacit acceptance of performanceenhancing drugs in one sphere of human activity should entail toleration in other spheres, and anything else is hypocrisy. On the contrary, I consider the attitude he criticizes to be basically correct: meaningful ethical judgments on performance enhancement require meaningful distinctions among the activities that are subject to enhancement. It is possible for a consistent ethical schema to excuse the Beatles and condemn Palmeiro. I focus my argument on cognition-enhancing drugs (CEDs) and their effects on ones understanding of cheating and human accomplishment. Although CEDs raise a number of difficult ethical questionsincluding issues of distributive justice, social pressure to conform, and hubris in altering human natureI set those questions aside to focus in depth on cheating and accomplishment. I also refer frequently to the use of CEDs in academic settings, which already has been a significant focus of debate; but the arguments I develop could, in principle, be extended to many other settings. I argue that two distinctions among activities are especially important for developing a coherent ethics of enhancement. The first is between activities that are zero-sum and non-zero-sum. The second is between activities that are predominately characterized by what I call process goods, excellence in the performance of an activity, or by outcome goods, the benefits an activity creates. Activities in academic settings may fall anywhere in this framework; willingness to tolerate the use of CEDs should largely depend on where the activities fall. I argue that the use of CEDs is especially beneficial, and should be especially tolerated, when the activities at stake are non-zero-sum and when the importance of process is outweighed by the importance of outcome. Finally, I criticize the claim that CEDs unnaturally cheapen human accomplishments; instead, I consider their use to be in line with well-established conceptions of collaborative authorship, which shift the locus of praise and blame from individual creators to the ultimate products of their efforts.
CHARACTERISTICS AND USE OF COgNITION-ENHANCINg DRUgS

Among the most common CEDs are modafinil, methylphenidate, and dextroamphetamine, which are available under the brand names Provigil, [ 146 ]

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Ritalin, and Adderall, respectively. Although originally developed to treat diagnosed conditions ranging from narcolepsy to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, their off-label use has been reported to increase users recall, attention span, and ability to focus on cognitive tasks; in addition, modafinil has been shown to increase wakefulness (Butcher 2003; greely et al. 2008). Some CEDs also seem to enhance users executive function, or problem-solving ability (Mehlman 2004, p. 484). Beyond the currently available drugs, research into Alzheimers disease and other causes of cognitive decline in the elderly is likely to contribute, intentionally or not, to the further development of CEDs: The federal governments annual expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars on Alzheimers research alone may result in CEDs that are safer and more effective than those currently available (Mehlman 2004, p. 485). Anecdotal reports provide some insight into the effects of CEDs and the subjective experience of their use. One such report comes from Johann Hari, a journalist who has written for the New York Times, The New Republic, and The Guardian. Hari took 200 milligrams of modafinil every day for five days and noted immediate effects:
I sat down and took one 200mg tablet with a glass of water. . . . I picked up a book about quantum physics and super-string theory I have been meaning to read for ages. . . . Five hours later, I realised I had hit the last page. . . . I hadnt noticed anything, except the words I was reading, and they came in cool, clear passages; I didnt stop or stumble once. Perplexed, I got up, made a sandwichand I was overcome with the urge to write an article that had been kicking around my subconscious for months. It rushed out of me in a few hours, and it was better than usual. . . . I was just able to glide into a state of concentrationdeep, cool, effortless concentration. It was like I had opened a window in my brain and all the stuffy air had seeped out, to be replaced by a calm breeze. Once that article was finished, I wanted to do more. I wrote another article, all of it springing out of my mind effortlessly. (Hari 2008)

Another journalist, David Plotz of Slate, found similar results in his own unscientific experiment. He recorded the effects of two days of modafinil use in real time: Today I am the picture of vivacity. I am working about twice as fast as usual. I have a desperate urge to write. . . . These have been the two most productive days Ive had in years (Plotz 2003). Hari and Plotz both chose to end their regular use of modafinil in a matter of days (while both saving tablets for occasional use), Hari citing his fear of long-term side effects and Plotz writing of his anxiety over [ 147 ]

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developing a psychological dependence on the drug. As both point out, the effects of long-term use of CEDs by the healthy remain largely unknown (Butcher 2003; Chatterjee 2004). Also questionable are ways in which CEDs focus-heightening properties may be balanced by cognitive tradeoffs, including hampered lateral thinking, or the ability creatively to pursue promising ideas unrelated to the task at hand (Lehrer 2008). Because these side effects and tradeoffs remain poorly understood, they do not figure in my argument, but a key part of the ethical use of CEDs should be a willingness to continually and objectively reevaluate their effects. Concerns over negative effects have failed to limit the widespread academic use of CEDs among both students and professors. In a 2008 survey of 2,087 college students, 5.3 percent reported nonmedical use of methylphenidate, under the brand names of Ritalin and Concerta (DuPont et al. 2008, p. 167). The U.S. Department of Educations Higher Education Center has identified Ritalin as one of the most commonly abused drugs on college campuses (where abuse is defined as off-label use) (Kapner 2008). Another study found that 6.9 percent of college students had used stimulants, including Ritalin and Adderall, at some point for nonmedical purposes (McCabe et al. 2005, p. 96). It seems likely that academic enhancement is the most common off-label use of these drugs, with full-time college students reporting Adderall use without a prescription at twice the rate of their peers who were not full-time students, according to a 2009 study from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2009). It also appears that a significant number of academics, including some leading scientists, rely on the same drugs as their students. A widelyreported survey conducted by the journal Nature found that one in five of its polled readership, which includes scientists from 60 countries, had used CEDs (Maher 2008, p. 674). As with many ethically questionable activities, it is reasonable to conclude that the actual use of CEDs exceeds these self-reported figures. The frequent, yet tacit, use of CEDs has sparked a wide-ranging debate on the ethics of enhancement and universities efforts to regulate drug use among their students and facultya debate that is often analogous to the argument over performance enhancement in sports. As Martha Farah and colleagues argue, as the use of CEDs continues to expand and new, more potent drugs come closer to the market, the search for coherent policies and ethics of enhancement grows more urgent. Doing nothing will strengthen the current laissez-faire approach, in which users continue to seek CEDs [ 148 ]

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on the black market or from physicians, while avoiding open discussion of their drug use (Farah et al. 2004). The first step toward developing an ethics of enhancement is drawing distinctions among the activities that one might enhance.
ZERO-SUM OR NON-ZERO-SUM?

Beyond Therapy, a report of the Presidents Council on Bioethics (PCB) (2003, p. 291), claims that the attainment of [excellence] by means of drugs . . . looks to many people (including some Members of this Council) to be cheating or cheap. Of course, that point invites one to consider what exactly cheating means. One useful definition comes from a report published before the 2004 Athens Olympics by sports ethicist Sigmund Loland (2005, p. 11), who defines cheating as intentional violations against the ethos of the sport in which one takes part, where ethos is understood as the common interpretation of a binding set of rules. Sports, more than most human activities, come with clear sets of rules; when a sport bans performanceenhancing drugs, a drug users most obvious offense is breaking a set of rules to which he or she has agreed by playing. On the other hand, it is not clear that every violation of the rules would be commonly understood to constitute cheating: one could, for instance, break a league rule standardizing shoe color without gaining a competitive advantage, which distinguishes cheating from the broader category of rulebreaking. As Stuart P. green (2004) points out, competitive advantage in rule-based activities is reciprocal: a competitors advantage also imposes a burden on his or her opponent(s). And in all zero-sum activities, including sports, a winner implies a loser.1 An athletes drug use directly diminishes an honest opponents chance of winning; users of performance-enhancing drugs surreptitiously benefit themselves at the direct expense of others. The same reasoning can apply to the use of CEDs in the many academic activities that, like sports, are directly competitive. Under this category might fall courses graded on a curve, with only a finite number of top grades, and competitive exams, such as the SAT, in which ones score takes on meaning relative to the score of every other test taker. Using Provigil to assist with a competitive exam or project for a competitive course directly disadvantages every other competitor; this disadvantage is particularly harmful when career or financial success is at stake. The use of CEDs is clearly cheating when it is explicitly banned by professors or institutions; but drug users also gain an advantage when, as is often the [ 149 ]

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case, rules on CEDs are unestablished or unclear. Competitions demand rules that cover the most likely means of influencing their outcomes, and as these means change, the rules must keep pace. Rules of competition, in sports and academics, ought to guarantee a fair playing field to the greatest extent possible. That fairness can be pursued in a number of ways. Academic institutions could follow the model of sports leagues and explicitly ban enhancers for students enrolled in competitive courses or taking competitive exams; they could even institute random drug testing. At the other extreme, they could follow the lead of ethicists like Allen Buchanan, who compare the use of CEDs to the use of calculators on math exams. On that reasoning, professors might make cognitive enhancement an explicit course expectation and even distribute CEDs before exams (Bliwise 2009), or professors might permit CEDs without distributing them. If the only concern is fairness, any of these approaches potentially could be appropriatethe goal simply would be a clear, consistent, enforceable set of rules. Each approach, however, might have its own unique set of drawbacks. An especially restrictive policy could demand constantly new testing methods to keep pace with new drugs, as well as the potentially demeaning spectacle of students submitting urine or blood samples to their professors. A permissive enhancement policy, even as it guaranteed a fair set of rules, might reshape the playing field in unanticipated waysjust as the use of calculators works to the relative disadvantage of students who are quickest at doing long division with pencil and paper. But the criterion of fairness does not tell us much about an ideal policy. Rules, however clear and fairly enforced they are, may still be misguided The use of steroids or Provigil could be tolerated by a set of rules that are themselves a mistake. In fact, the PCB and other critics of enhancement make their arguments without reference to a specific set of rules at all, developing a more expansive conception of cheating. I consider their arguments later. But not all activities subject to enhancement are ethically similar to sportsmany of them are non-zero-sum games. In these cases, the numbers of winners and losers are not fixed. In a non-zero-sum academic setting, it is possible that every member of a given group could succeed, or fail, according to an external standard. Members of a graduate seminar, for instance, could work together to increase the sum of knowledge in their field; they could all produce outstanding papers at the end of a term, or they could all produce poor ones. Similarly, the expanding total [ 150 ]

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of scientific knowledge makes research a non-zero-sum activity. Henry greeley and colleagues (2008), who generally favor the academic use of CEDs, characterize themselves as teachers whose job it is to introduce students to new information and help them process that information more efficientlyactivities that are, again, non-competitive. Non-zero-sum activities significantly change the ethical considerations. For one, the enhancement of one participant does not directly harm another participants chances of success, just as an honest student could write an excellent paper even if one of his classmates plagiarized his or hers from a published source. In addition, many non-zero-sum activities are collaborative: each advance by a participant contributes to the success of the group, so that participants have an interest in each others success. On a research team, for instance, collaborators who use CEDs might use their increased focus and productivity to work longer hours and contribute new information and new lines of enquiry, which would be valuable to all of their colleagues. Along similar lines, Maxwell Mehlman (2004) argues that the use of CEDs could diffuse shared benefits, even to those who are not themselves using the drugs. To be sure, the lines between zero-sum and non-zero-sum, or competitive and collaborative, activities are not always easy to identify. Students preparing for a competitive law school exam might still collaborate in small study groups. In courses not graded on a curve, students are still measured by a standard implicitly set by their peers and by previous classes, and they might eventually find themselves competing for a finite number of jobs. As for professors, the accumulation of knowledge in their discipline might be a non-zero-sum activity, but their careers may also be marked by a number of zero-sum games, such as grant competitions. However, the difficulty of drawing these lines does not mean that one should avoid drawing them entirely. Ethical analysis often depends on difficult distinctions, such as those between benign and harmful paternalism, or autonomous and coerced decisions. The distinction I draw here is not meant to mandate CED rules on the basis of the side of the line on which an activity falls. It is meant to clarify argument: rather than beginning from a blanket intuition on all CED use, one should begin with a discussion of the activity at stake, considering whether it is more accurately characterized as zero-sum or non-zero-sum. Although rules on CEDs, like all rules, always will be subject to debate, relating them clearly to the activity at hand helps both students and teachers understand their purpose and rationale. [ 151 ]

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PROCESS gOODS OR OUTCOME gOODS?

Critics of CEDs often argue that, just as one can cheat others in a competition, one can cheat oneself out of the full value of an activity. One might also cheat against an activity itself. For instance, Maartje Schermer offers the hypothetical of a man who considers himself a mountain climber but takes a helicopter to the summit: he does not harm a competitor or break an explicit rule, but he does cheat himself out of the challenges and rewards of an unaided ascent. His helicopter ride is not inherently wrong, but it does turn his self-identification as a mountain climber into a delusion (Schermer 2008, p. 360). These arguments often appeal to the notion of process goods, or excellence in performing an activity, as opposed to outcome goods, or the activitys resulting benefits. The act of cooking, for instance, might provide the cook with pleasure in work and the cultivation of virtues such as patience, but it also results in a tangible meal. Many critics of CEDs argue that they cheat users out of the chance to experience valuable process goods. One such argument is considered by both Schermer and neurologist Anjan Chatterjee: CEDs represent an easy shortcut that compromises character by depriving individuals of opportunities for hard work. But both ultimately reject this point. Chatterjee (2004, p. 971) notes that we routinely accept technologies to make life easier, from air conditioning, to cars, to Tylenol. Schermer adds that the virtues developed through hard work are not mainly valuable in themselves, but because they prepare us to accomplish more hard work. Finding a reliable, easier method takes these virtues out of context, disconnecting them from a purposeful activity. It would be foolish to forgo a reliable shortcut on account of a set of virtues that the shortcut itself renders unnecessary (Schermer 2008). On the other hand, a more nuanced version of the easy-shortcut argument seems stronger. As Schermer puts it, the true concern with enhancement is not that it makes activities less difficult, but that it makes them less meaningful. CEDs might help one achieve an end more efficiently, but they could also deprive individuals of valuable experiences in the process. In Schermers example of mountain-climbing, simply standing on the summit loses meaning when it is disconnected from the process of climbing there. Among the goods that are threatened by shortcuts, Schermer (2008, p. 360) cites the experience of achievement-against-all-odds, the experience of performing certain activities, the fulfillment of certain performances, perhaps even some forms of self-esteem. [ 152 ]

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The PCB adds an important good to that list: the experience of developing ones own powers. For the PCB, practice is not valuable simply because it enhances ones abilities, but because it ties willed action to improvement, making the subjective experience of growth a rewarding consequence of exertion. Perceiving the process of growth, step by step, is crucial. Enhancement technologies, on the other hand, make improvements to our performance less intelligible. . . . On the plane of human experience and understanding, there is a difference between changes in our body that proceed through self-direction and those that do not (PCB 2003, p. 129). The PCB acknowledges that the distinction between enhancement drugs on one hand, and food or sleep on the other, is not clear-cutall of them affect people on a molecular level. Furthermore, enhancement drugs do not abolish work. Steroids, for instance, allow many athletes to train longer and harder. But the PCB argues that the effectiveness of enhancement drugs is also their potential for alienation: they alienate individuals from their own bodies, by turning them into products. They turn improvement from something we do into something that happens to us. It is in this sense that the PCB sees enhancement technologies as a form of cheating that cheapens human accomplishment. Its concern is not simply for fair play: as already indicated, fair play could be satisfied by the universal use of enhancers. The PCB is just as concerned with the dignity of personal accomplishments, which it sees as intimately tied to the experience of intelligibly developing ones own powers under ones own efforts. For the PCB, it is not enough to say that steroid-using athletes are breaking existing rules; the rules themselves are flawed if they do not ban enhancement. The interests of both players and spectators are at stake: enhancement causes players to forgo some of the richness of developing their own excellence, and it causes spectators to miss out on the display of natural human effort that gives sports their moral meaning. This is a powerful argumentbut it is important to see why it is more suited for some activities than others. It is an argument focused on process goods, the benefits people enjoy when they participate in activities for their own sakes. Some activities are largely, or even exclusively, characterized by process goods. A game of chess, for instance, does not produce anything; as a game, the importance of the activity seems to lie in the process of the game itself, not in the summary of moves that could be read afterwards. Similarly, one cannot use anything created by a game of baseballit is not an attempt to produce the highest total of home runs. In these cases, the argument that enhancers can cheat people out of some of the richness [ 153 ]

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of experience ought to carry significant weight. Two players would not harm one another by agreeing to play chess under the influence of CEDs, but they might well be harming themselves.2 However, I argue that most worthy activities include both process goods and outcome goods. In many, the outcome goods should carry a greater weight, either because a large number benefit from the activity, or because the activity is instrumentally valuable but unrewarding. In these cases, CEDs create a tradeoff: forgoing CEDs might make the activity richer for the person performing it, but doing so would also impose a cost on all those who are counting on the activitys outcome. A cancer researcher, for instance, might enjoy the discipline and rigor that are inherent in the practice of science and might find these process goods compromised by the use of CEDs, but many more of us would benefit from the outcome of a cure, no matter how it came about. To delay or prevent a cure in the name of the researchers personal fulfillment would hold many hostage to the private moral experience of a small minority. To be fair, the PCB does explicitly allow that doctors, soldiers, and others engaged in life-or-death activities might sometimes be exempted from prohibitions on enhancements. But the logic of that exemption should extend to many other activities. In many activities, such as art or philosophy, the value of the final product is independent of the internal, backstage experience of its creator. Mehlman (2004, p. 493) illustrates this point clearly: A child prodigy who produces a charming sonata with little formal training produces just as treasured a piece as does someone who . . . labored over the score for half a lifetime. The more who stand to benefit from the outcome, the greater the presumption in favor of CEDs should be. Again, the line between activities in which either process or outcome goods predominate is far from clearjust as are the lines between zerosum and non-zero-sum activities, or even between enhancement drugs and dietary supplements. A groundbreaking scientific article might have worldwide benefits, while a midterm exam would only be important in terms of the development of one student, with many points in between. Fixing the line should continue to be an active subject of debate, and individuals should honestly examine whether their use of CEDs would be of benefit to others, or whether it would merely serve their own ambitions. I simply argue that blanket prohibitions of CEDs can privilege the subjective experience of creating above the benefits that can be taken from science, art, and scholarship. In many cases, those benefits will carry a decisive weight. [ 154 ]

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OWNINg ONES ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Finally, critics of CEDs argue that enhancers diminish individuals claims on their own accomplishments. Even if users of CEDs were not cheating competitors, and even if the meaningfulness of the activity were not diminished, it might still be argued that their accomplishments do not, in some sense, fully belong to them. Users of CEDs, much like cheaters, might take credit for achievements that are not theirs. This is the claim the PCB makes when it urges people to distinguish between true and false acts, those that are products of who they truly are and those that they owe to unnatural, external help. It argues that enhanced performance seems less real, less ones own, less worthy of our admiration (PCB 2003, p. 140). For the PCB, the central question of accomplishment is: What would make the deed truly ones own? (PCB 2003, p. 145). And what is at stake is the dignity of accomplishments that are distinctively human. However, the PCB makes the unfounded assumption that its approach to accomplishment is the natural, default view. It ties human dignity to peoples personal claim to their accomplishments, placing the emphasis on what they can and cannot, as individuals, take credit for. On the contrary, I believe that the PCBs view of accomplishment is not especially natural or distinctively human at all, because competing views have been held just as stronglyleading me to believe that none of them is inherent in the nature of human activity. Instead, they are products of particular times and places. One such view is the collaborative understanding of authorship, which shifts the locus of credit from creators to products. It is a depersonalized way of thinking about accomplishment: emphasis on originality and ownership is diminished, because no work is ever fully original or fully ones own, and because one cannot escape external influences. The collaborative idea of authorship, which has proven remarkably resilient, is at odds with many of common notions of plagiarism and credit stealing. Author Jonathan Lethem (2007, p. 61) asks his readers to
consider the remarkable series of plagiarisms that links Ovids Pyramus and Thisbe with Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernsteins West Side Story, or Shakespeares description of Cleopatra, copied nearly verbatim from Plutarchs life of Mark Antony and also later nicked by T.S. Eliot for The Waste Land. . . . Finding ones voice isnt just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses.3

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For Lethem, these borrowings are integral to accomplishment in art, even as they break down the possibility of determining which part of the accomplishment belongs to which agent. Although it might be argued that this understanding is an after-the-fact imposition of critics, Lethem claims that many artists have seen themselves as working actively in the collaborative mode, depersonalizing what others consider to be their own accomplishments. For instance, he points to an interview in which the musician Muddy Waters gives five explanations for the origin of one of his songs in an answer to a single question, ranging from the song fell into my mind, to I learned it from Son House, to this song comes from the cotton field (Lethem 2007, p. 60). Eliot (1920, p. 56) also minimizes the individuality of the author: the poet has, not a personality to express, but a particular medium . . . in which impressions and experiences combine in peculiar and unexpected ways. Again, the active role of the author is minimized and the emphasis is shifted to his output, which almost seems to arise through the spontaneous combination of influences. Finally, there are those artists who understand themselves as collaborating with an impersonal source of inspiration, as in the traditional invocation of the Muse, or in J. S. Bachs habit of signing his works S.D.g. for Soli Deo Gloria (the glory to god alone). This long tradition of authorship would consider the PCBs questions of ownership, and of acts arising from the integral self, as beside the point. My point is not to argue that either view of authorship is superior; it is simply to claim that a view significantly different from the PCBs has been widely accepted, and that it is assuming far too much when it characterizes its view as natural or distinctively human. If the point holds for the arts, I think that it would also hold for more collaborative fields, such as the sciences. The PCB (2003, p. 300) argues that, when we enhance, we risk turning into someone else, confounding the identity we have acquired through natural gift; but there is a credible response ready. It is that all creativity confounds our identity with the identities of those who have influenced us. We use the word influence when speaking of both drugs and accomplishment. Someone may be under the influence of CEDs, just as an artist might speak of his or her influences. To my mind, this is not simply a punthe analogy is a real one. Both uses of the word call attention to sources of accomplishment that are beyond individual ownership. When an author acknowledges influences, he or she is sharing credit. I could imagine the cognitively-enhanced author of a scholarly article sharing [ 156 ]

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credit in the same way. The key issue is not with whom or what that credit is sharedwhether it be the drug itself, the scientists who developed it, or another partybut that credit sharing shifts ones eyes from the qualities of the author to the quality of the work. This may or may not be a more accurate or fruitful way of conceiving of accomplishment, but it is grounded in a tradition that seems worthy of respect. An optimist might even argue that wider use of CEDscombined with honest acknowledgment of their usewould encourage the growth of a secular equivalent of the S.D.g. attitude, which sees excellent work as something other than personal property and a sign of personal superiority.
CONCLUSION

I have proposed an ethics of enhancement that focuses attention on the kinds of activities subject to enhancement, and the reasons for enhancing them, rather than on the specific nature of the enhancer. I argue that cognitive enhancement ought to be regarded most favorably in collaborative activities and those in which the outcome is valued above the process. In light of these distinctions, it is overly simplistic to argue that the use of CEDs always constitutes cheating, in any of the senses that I have discussed. Finally, it is wrong to argue that the use of CEDs deprives activities of natural human dignity, because that claim makes an unjustified equation of natural human dignity with individual credit taking. Returning to my original example, it is entirely reasonable to distinguish between enhancement to produce an album of music and enhancement in athletic competition. There is still room for debate about how to fit the activities of album making and baseball playing into my proposed schema. But if one wanted to argue for the acceptability of enhancement in album making, on the grounds that it is a non-zero-sum activity with a preponderance of outcome goods, the case could be made without hypocrisy. A critic of my proposal might argue that it would prove impossible to implementfor society as a whole, or even at an individual college. With cognitive enhancement tolerated in some activities and courses, and banned or regulated in others, a spillover effect would be inevitable. Distinctions would be impossible to maintain, exceptions would continually be carved out, users might form psychological dependencies, and eventually the use of CEDs would be universal. However, even with that risk acknowledged, I consider my proposal superior to the two most likely alternatives: a universal ban, or the status quo of widespread and tacit use. A ban would deprive society of the potentially valuable results of [ 157 ]

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enhanced activities, lumping ethical and unethical enhancement together for the sake of a misplaced consistency. And the status quo would deprive society of honesty: a lack of clear rules would work to the advantage of those most willing to put ethics aside for the sake of personal advancement, while limiting discussion of CEDs to the abstract. I consider it much better to bring CEDs out of the closet and to discuss openly the use of enhancement. That honesty would not only be valuable in itself; open comparisons of enhanced and unenhanced work would lead to a better understanding of CEDs benefits and drawbacks. These drugs ought to be treated in a way consistent with the treatment of most other powerful technologiesnot good or bad in themselves, but subject to both good and bad use. My approach is likely to be more demanding than either an outright ban or tacit laissez faire. It demands honest assessment of activities and motives, along with a readiness to make wise decisions, case by case. But it seems right to make high demands of our ethical intelligence when considering how best to integrate such a transformative technology into our lives.
NOTES

1. A baseball game, with one winning team and one losing team, is clearly zero-sum. It is less clear that a marathon is zero-sum; still, even in sports in which losers outnumber winners, the participants are in direct competition, and one participants decision to cheat imposes a relative burden on every other. 2. One might argue that a baseball game does produce an event to be enjoyed by spectators. But if the PCB is correct that spectators interest in sports lies in their appreciation of the diligent, unassisted development of human ability, the open use of enhancers would not increase our enjoyment of a baseball game (although surreptitious use by a few rule breakers might). Others have argued that enhancers distort ones enjoyment of activities by leading one to focus on one enhanced aspect of an activitysuch as the distance of home runsto the diminishment of the whole (see Barnard 2009). 3. As if to prove his own point about collaboration, Lethem ultimately reveals that much of his essay is cobbled together from other writers work. This quote is a paraphrase of Richard Posner and george L. Dillon.
REFERENCES

Barnard, Justin D. 2009. Cognitive Enhancing Drugs. Public Discourse (31 March). Available at http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2009/03/74, accessed 21 April 2010.

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