Re: Ch. 4 - Training the Brain
tarav: I am sure that there would be more injuries, if more people would be able to pursue sports to the limits of human abilities.
As I understand it, a fairly significant proportion of the sports related injuries that you see these days are the result of what you might call "performing beyond capacity." Mark McGuire, for instance, sits out a fair part of any given baseball season due to pulled or strained muscles. And it's a fair bet that those injuries, which are essentially self-inflicted, have something to do with his use of anabolic steroids. (You guys will have to pardon me a little if my information is outdated or incorrect -- I'm going from memory, and I'm not exactly an avid spectator.)
That said, I'm not sure that this is really a matter for regulation, unless it can be demonstrated that chemically revved up athletes and performers are more likely to injur others. Assuming that's not the case -- which is not a given -- the ethical consideration must take place on a fairly individual level. That is, athletes have to ask themselves what their careers are worth to them. The effect that it has on the game itself does not strike me as an ethical matter.I think that Gazzaniga voices a concern on p 64 when he says, "These[brain enhancements]would be advantages in a social context, in a competitive environment that affects not only an individual's self-image but also the self-image and goals of others. It goes beyond the use and/or misuse of substances by an individual. What Johnny does impacts my social contract with the group of performing athletes and musicians".
Yeah, this is potentially tricky territory. Because I do see the rudiments of a fairly good argument so long as you're talking about chemical enhancement in the broader social sphere. Once people start using steroid like substances to compete in the normal job force, say, or to amplified their bodies in personal encounters (self-defense, for instance) then I see the potential for serious social schisms. But as I've said in another thread, sports and the arts strike me as fairly closed systems -- what happens in a sports arena has a very limited impact on the major events of outside life. And I'm not terribly impressed by the argument that says it's unethical to chemically alter one's performance simply because I, as a spectator, expect to see an unenhanced performance. If they performers or athletes are making specific claims about whether or not they're using chemical modifiers, that's certainly an ethical issue -- but it's the statement that's in question, not the substance.
There is a point at which the whole issue becomes fuzzy, though, and the reason is that athletes are citizens, too. So all of the long-term effects that could potentially alter the balance society remain even when the player is off the field. But the question there is whether or not society as a whole should allow modification -- I think there are good reasons against -- and not that of whether or not sports should allow it.