Benjamin Gregg on Cognitive Engineering where Severe Cognitive Disability is Indicated
The Higher Research Seminar is the main collective seminar at the Department of Political Science. Welcome!
Benjamin Gregg, University of Texas at Austin, will give a talk about "Cognitive Engineering where Severe Cognitive Disability is Indicated: Toward Threshold Capacities for Political Participation in Liberal Democratic Communities".
I explore political consequences of what is not possible today, and what might never be possible: manipulation of an embryo toward a level of intelligence that would allow the future citizen autonomous participation in the political life of her liberal democratic community.
I ask: Might the goal of a liberal democratic community to provide equal citizenship — in the sense of enabling the future person’s capacity for full civic participation in political community — justify genetic engineering at the fetal stage where severe cognitive disability is indicated?
I respond in four steps:
- in light of cognitive capacities relevant to democratic political participation, I show that cognitive disability can be a political disability as well and
- that aspects of political participation, equally desirable for the individual citizen and for the collective good, may justify some forms of cognitive engineering.
- I contend that alternatives to human cognitive engineering are less viable than cognitive engineering.
- I conclude that a just community should regard, as a political imperative, the provision of the relevant cognitive engineering to the extent possible.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, we will begin with digital seminars and then switch to hybrid form if/when possible.
anders [dot] uhlin [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se