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A moral question - Ethics Forum

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Previous Entry A moral question May. 8th, 2007 @ 04:14 am Next Entry
When it comes to cheating in an academic setting, can "study drugs" be deemed immoral on the same grounds that steroids are cheating and immoral in the world of sports?

Does taking adderall to write a paper or study for a test cheat the system, and yourself?

I'm talking about when it's not prescribed, though perhaps for those prescribed the question is not so different. Still, regarding those who do not need the drug but still take it, is there anything wrong with it?

I'm torn between saying it's horrible and saying it's neutral. Any thoughts?
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Date:May 8th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)
If it wasn't against the rules, would there be anything wrong with taking steroids? If you're careful about the health effects and don't deceive others about what you're doing -- don't break any official rules -- I don't share the intuition that it's wrong to use performance enhancing drugs.
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Date:May 8th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)

How could taking an enhancement be cheating?

Look….God (or whatever) rolled the dice, and not everyone got a fair shake.

So when we look at the uneven playing ground that celebrates that lucky roll of the die, how can we criticize those with the means, the mind, and the willingness to win?
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Date:May 8th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
Has there been any conclusion that taking a "study drug" actually improves grades? Unless there has, then it would be like drinking coffee or jumping up and down every 5 minutes.
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Date:May 8th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
i agree with that. as well, from the perspective of someone who has had problems with meth in the past and have used various forms of amphetamines to help in my academics it doesn't help at all. You get too distracted by other things. For people who don't need it, it's really not very helpful, since you'll concentrate really hard on one task, but it is probably not going to be your paper.

As for using it for alertness in class after an all-nighter it is also pretty useless, after being up for 24 hours you tend not to be very lucid, and your memory is not that effective. Deprivation of sleep, unless it is by the fairly rare drug modafinil, which has had extensive testing on alertness and ability to function while being up for prolonged times. Those tests showed that unlike any other drug of that nature could even come close. Helocopter pilots could fly sorties for 72 hours straight without an hallucination.

As for the morality one most look at what you are really saying. They are using the medication for its designed purpose, just not legally. People routinely buy medicine overseas because it is simply cheaper to do so, this is against the law, and a lot of them don't have current prescriptions for the drug, but were prescribed it but could not afford to go see a psychologist for 250$ for 30 minutes every few months. What they are doing doesn't seem immoral to me in that situation. That situation is much the same as what these students are doing. They may not have a legitimate reason to take amphetamines (like ADD or narcolepsy) but they are using them for essentially the designed purpose.
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