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Dunbar Lectures

Department of Philosophy

Monday, March 2, 7:00 PM
Academic Complex 215, Reception following


Nicole A. Vincent, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Neuroscience
Georgia State University


"NEUROENHANCEMENT - Blessing or Curse?"

Should we use drugs to make ourselves smarter? Is it a good idea to use neural implants to give us better memories? Is it wise to use electrical stimulation to improve our concentration? Have a brain surgery to reduce our need for sleep? In this public lecture on the promises and perils of neurological enhancement, Nicole Vincent—well known philosopher specializing in the moral and legal issues of neuroscience and technology—will guide us through the increasingly thorny issues. She will develop four related ideas:

One, that without adequate regulation, cognitive en-hancement may become the new "normal" — a de facto standard that pressures everyone to enhance themselves. Two, that it is fruitful to understand such social pressure to enhance as a social side effect of an emerging technology. Three, that such pressure would be regrettable, not merely because it erodes freedom and hands over control in shaping society to the invisible hand of competition, but also because some social arrangements may be toxic to human flourishing. Four, that for humans to flourish, how we regulate emerging technologies should also be informed by risks of social side effects as well as medical side effect.

Nicole Vincent received a PhD in philosophy of law from the University of Adelaide, South Australia. She has worked on neurolaw research programs at the Technische Universiteit Delft, The Netherlands and at Macquarie University, Australia and is the chief investigator of the international research project “Enhancing Responsibility: the effects of cognitive enhancement on moral and legal responsibility”. In 2013 she was the first hire in the new neuroethics initiative at Georgia State University, joining the Department of Philosophy as Associate Professor of Philosophy, Law, and Neuroscience. A prolific speaker, writer, and traveler, Dr. Vincent is on the cutting edge of social issues in neuroscience. Visit her website and see her TED talk


Want to see other Dunbar Lectures Millsaps has hosted? Visit the Past Dunbar Lectures page. 


Richard Bergmark

The Dunbar Lectures

Instituted by Jack F. and Wylene Dunbar in honor of Robert E. Bergmark, beloved Millsaps  philosophy professor, colleague, scholar, and civil rights advocate.