Cognitive Enhancement and Other Technologies of the Mind

January 9, 2013 - January 10, 2013
University of the West of England and University of Bristol

United Kingdom

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The conference will explore the fundamental philosophical and ethical issues that are at stake in the debates surrounding ‘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 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

Draft Programme:

Wednesday 9 January 2013 Watershed 3 Bristol, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside Bristol BS1 5TX

10:00-10:15 – Welcome / Coffee

10:15-10:30 – Introduction, Darian Meacham (UWE)

10:30-12:30 Chair: Ruud ter Meulen (Bristol)

-  Michael Hauskeller (Exeter), “Whose Enhancement? Which Purpose?”
-  Jérôme Goffette (Lyon), “Stimulants and anthropotechnics: some reflections”

12:30-14:00 - Lunch

14:00-16:00 Chair: Heather Bradshaw

- David Roden (OpenU), “Beyond Enhancement: Accounting, Discounting and Encountering Posthumans”
- Jean-Michel Besnier (CNRS/Paris), “The Simplified Mind”

16:00-16-15: - Coffee

16:15-17:45 Chair: Darian Meacham (UWE)

-       Sylvie Allouche (Bristol), Heather Bradshaw (Bristol), Alex McKeown (Bristol), “Contributions of the Anthropotech Seminar”

18:15-19:45 - Public debate “Should Students Take ‘Smart’ Drugs?”

20:00 - Dinner

Thursday 10 January 2013 Centre for Ethics in Medicine Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol, BS8 2PS

09:00 Welcome

09:15-11:15 Chair: Alex McKeown (Bristol)

-  William Stephenson (Chester), “Timothy Leary and the Technologies of the Mind”
-  Pierre Cassou-Noguès (Paris), “From computer prosthesis to brain readers”

11:15-11:30 - Break

11:30-12:30 Chair: Sylvie Allouche

-       Robin Mackenzie (Kent), “Are sexbots neurodiverse?”

12:30-13:00 – Concluding remarks and discussion

Register Now: (registration closes January 3)

For further information please contact Sylvie Allouche ([email protected]) or consult our website:

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January 3, 2013, 9:00am BST

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