Neuroethics Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

July 2007


Few people would argue against treating the traumatic psychological effects of war or violence. But what about taking a drug to lessen the pain of our common daily struggles, such as the end of a relationship or anxiety about one's job? Is this a "cosmetic" enhancement of human life, even a danger to character, or is it an ethical choice? For guidance, the author looks to the history of treating physical pain and argues that, despite growing knowledge of the biological basis for psychological pain, many find it hard to find a consistent principled position when it comes down to specific instances of alleviating human suffering


Postprint version. Published in Cerebrum, July 30, 2007.
Publisher URL:


enhancement, cosmetic neurology, pain, neuroethics



Date Posted: 17 December 2008