Assuming that the purported goal of much legislation as well as ethical argument is the protection of the welfare of children, I challenge some of the conceptions which currently inform the cognitive enhancement debate. Using an example from English education law, I demonstrate that there are gaps in the debate which need to be addressed if we are to continue attempts to increase children’s cognitive abilities, whether by pharmacological, genetic, or other means. Addressing a problematic asymmetry in interpreting what is good for children, I suggest that we ought to look for alternative interpretive concepts, such as offered by the concept “DiffAbility” and the idea of neurodiversity. This should lead to actual enhanced well-being of children independt from notions of normality and/or disability, rather than an enhancement only of abilities.


Conference Details

IAB 2016
14-17 June 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland
Organiser: International Association of Bioethics


Cognitive Enhancement; Welfare of the Child; Social; Model of Disability; Giftedness Studies; Child Development
Discipline(s) – Public Health, Ethics and Law