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The Neuroethics and Feasibility of Genetic Engineering on the Nervous System

Enhancement Neuro-Genetic Engineering

Cosmetic surgery was the quackery of the day in nineteenth century America, a practice born of vanity that tampers with the God given. It is, after all, seemingly contrary to the Hippocratic oath as it inflicts harm and no physical relief (Elliot 2007). Now, it is now a mainstream medicine, and even the vainest transformations can be accepted by doctors, clergy and feminists. The view had shifted from ‘enhancement’ to ‘therapy’, becoming, in historian Elizabeth Haiken’s word, ‘psychiatry with a scalpel’, and these conversions are common in medicine where the boundaries between pathology and consumer pressure are indistinct. In the same manner, it is not inconceivable that enhancement NGE technology will come into play as ‘psychiatry with transfection’ in the near future, with a path smoothened in the same way as that for cosmetic surgery by the technology’s use in medicine and in the interests, perhaps, of ‘neruo-equality’.


Introduction: Medicine and Synthetic Biology

Medical Neuro-Genetic Engineering

Therapeutic Neuro-Genetic Engineering

Enhancement Neuro-Genetic Engineering

The Core of the Neuroethical Debate