L’impianto cocleare come potenziatore cognitivo? Una prospettiva neuroetica sulle obiezioni della comunità sorda

Claudia Bonfiglioli, Francesco Pavani


Riassunto: L’impianto cocleare (IC) è una neuroprotesi che consente un recupero parziale dell’udito nella persona sorda. Nonostante la sua generale efficacia nel contrastare alcuni dei problemi legati alla sordità, il suo utilizzo è stato fortemente osteggiato da quella parte della comunità sorda che vede nella sordità una forma di identità culturale e non una patologia. Questo articolo inquadra in una prospettiva neuroetica le preoccupazioni della comunità sorda – difficilmente comprensibili agli udenti – esaminando le analogie fra il rifiuto dell’IC e il disagio che si osserva nella popolazione generale relativamente al Potenziamento Cognitivo (PCog). Nel PCog, individui sani insoddisfatti delle proprie prestazioni, o comunque desiderosi di migliorarle, ricorrono ad interventi artificiali per potenziare le proprie funzioni cognitive. L’analisi evidenzia come, nel rifiutare l’IC, la comunità sorda possa voler tutelare un insieme di valori non così diverso da quello che la comunità generale richiama spesso nelle sue preoccupazioni rispetto alla diffusione dei PCog.

Parole chiave: Impianto cocleare; Potenziamento cognitivo; Sordità; Cultura sorda

The cochlear implant as cognitive enhancement? A neuroethical perspective on some issues raised by the deaf community

Abstract: The cochlear implant (CI) is a neuroprosthesis that allows for partial recovery of auditory function in individuals who are deaf. Despite its general efficacy, its use has been strongly opposed by a part of the deaf community that perceives deafness as a form of cultural identity, rather than a pathology. This article considers the concerns of the deaf community – which are often difficult for hearing people to understand – from a neuroethics perspective, proposing that such opposition to CI is analogous to the general population’s unease with regard to Cognitive Enhancement (CE). CE allows healthy individuals who are unsatisfied with – or would like to improve – their performance to use artificial interventions that enhance cognitive functions. The analysis reveals that, when opposing CIs, the deaf community may be protecting a set of values similar to those that the general community often evokes when voicing concerns about CE diffusion.

Keywords: Cochlear Implant; Cognitive Enhancement; Deafness; Deaf Culture

Parole chiave

Impianto cocleare; Potenziamento cognitivo; Sordità; Cultura sorda

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4453/rifp.2020.0020

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