Volume 22, Issue 1, 2018
Glenn M. Trujillo, Jr.
From Taquería to Medical School
Juan Carlos, Aristotle, Cognitive Enhancements, and a Good Life
This paper begins with a vignette of Juan Carlos, an immigrant to America who works to support his family, attends classes at a community college, and cares for his ill daughter. It argues that an Aristotelian virtue ethicist could condone a safe, legal, and virtuous use of cognitive enhancements in Juan Carlos’s case. The argument is that if an enhancement can lead him closer to eudaimonia (i.e., flourishing, or a good life), then it is morally permissible to use it. The paper closes by demonstrating how common objections to cognitive enhancement fail to undermine Juan Carlos’s justifiable use of the technology. The particularities of his case make it morally acceptable for him to use enhancements in certain situations. The paper, thus, constructs a limited, positive case for the virtuous use of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancements.