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Cognitive liberty

Cognitive liberty is the freedom to be the absolute sovereignty of the individual’s own consciousness. It is an extension of the concepts of freedom of thought and self-ownership.

The nonprofit Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics defines cognitive liberty as "the right of each individual to think independently and autonomously, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind, and to engage in multiple modes of thought."[1]

An individual who enjoys cognitive liberty is free to alter the state of their consciousness using any method they choose, including but not limited to meditation, yoga, psychoactive drugs, prayer, etc. Such an individual would also never be forced to change their consciousness against their will. So, for example, a child who is forced to consume Ritalin as a prerequisite for attending public school, does not enjoy cognitive liberty, nor does an individual who is forced to take anti-psychotics in order to be fit to stand trial, nor an individual who faces criminal charges and punishment for changing the state of their consciousness by consuming a mind-altering drug, although other explanations for criminalization of some drugs do not fit this argument.

Timothy Leary has summarized this concept by postulating two “new commandments for the molecular age”:

  • Thou shalt not alter the consciousness of thy fellow men.
  • Thou shalt not prevent thy fellow man from changing his or her own consciousness. [1]

The primary proponents of this philosophy in the United States are the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics.

See also

  • Neuroethics
  • Neurolaw
  • Techno-progressivism
  • Thomas Szasz
  • Wrye Sententia
  • Sell v. United States


  1. ^ FAQ - Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE). General Info. Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics (2003-09-15). Retrieved on 2007-10-20.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cognitive_liberty". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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