Autonomy and Authenticity of Enhanced Personality Traits

15 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2009

See all articles by Christoph Bublitz

Christoph Bublitz

Universit├Ąt Hamburg

Reinhard Merkel

University of Hamburg

Abstract

There is concern that the use of neuroenhancements to alter character traits undermines consumer's authenticity. But the meaning, scope and value of authenticity remain vague. However, the majority of contemporary autonomy accounts ground individual autonomy on a notion of authenticity. So if neuroenhancements diminish an agent's authenticity, they may undermine his autonomy. This paper clarifies the relation between autonomy, authenticity and possible threats by neuroenhancements. We present six neuroenhancement scenarios and analyse how autonomy accounts evaluate them. Some cases are considered differently by criminal courts; we demonstrate where academic autonomy theories and legal reasoning diverge and ascertain whether courts should reconsider their concept of autonomy. We argue that authenticity is not an appropriate condition for autonomy and that new enhancement technologies pose no unique threats to personal autonomy.

Suggested Citation

BUBLITZ, JAN CHRISTOPH and MERKEL, REINHARD, Autonomy and Authenticity of Enhanced Personality Traits. Bioethics, Vol. 23, Issue 6, pp. 360-374, July 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1416349 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01725.x

JAN CHRISTOPH BUBLITZ (Contact Author)

Universit├Ąt Hamburg ( email )

Rothenbaumchaussee 33
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

REINHARD MERKEL

University of Hamburg

Allende-Platz 1
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

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