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  1. Amoral Enhancement.Saskia E. Verkiel - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (1):52-55.
    Moral enhancement can be an attractive proposal, but contrary to cognitive enhancement, it is hard to define what kind of intervention would constitute moral enhancement. In an ongoing debate about the subject, Douglas argued that biomedically decreasing countermoral emotions would do so and would be morally permissible in particular cases. Harris disagreed, and one of his arguments is that failing to address the intellectual aspects of moral decisions—and simply targeting countermoral emotions—would effectively undermine our freedom by reducing our options to (...)
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  • Moral Enhancement and the Good Life.Hazem Zohny - 2019 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 22 (2):267-274.
    One approach to defining enhancement is in the form of bodily or mental changes that tend to improve a person’s well-being. Such a “welfarist account”, however, seems to conflict with moral enhancement: consider an intervention that improves someone’s moral motives but which ultimately diminishes their well-being. According to the welfarist account, this would not be an instance of enhancement—in fact, as I argue, it would count as a disability. This seems to pose a serious limitation for the account. Here, I (...)
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  • Risk, Russian-Roulette and Lotteries: Persson and Savulescu on Moral Enhancement.Darryl Gunson & Hugh McLachlan - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (4):877-884.
    The literature concerning the possibility and desirability of using new pharmacological and possible future genetic techniques to enhance human characteristics is well-established and the debates follow some well-known argumentative patterns. However, one argument in particular stands out and demands attention. This is the attempt to tie the moral necessity of moral enhancement to the hypothesised risks that allowing cognitive enhancement will bring. According to Persson and Savulescu, cognitive enhancement should occur only if the risks they think it to poses are (...)
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  • Bioconservatism, Bioenhancement and Backfiring.Tamara Kayali Browne & Steve Clarke - 2020 - Journal of Moral Education 49 (2):241-256.
    ABSTRACTThe prospect of enhancing ourselves through the use of new biotechnologies is for the most part, hypothetical. Nevertheless, the question of whether we should undertake such enhancement is worthy of discussion as it may become possible in the future. In this article, we consider one form of argument that conservative opponents of biotechnological means of enhancement deploy in opposition to the use of enhancement technologies—the backfiring objection. This is the objection that the use of such technologies is liable to go (...)
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  • Objections to the God Machine Thought Experiment and What They Reveal About the Intelligibility of Moral Intervention by Technological Means.Garry Young - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):831-846.
    The first aim of the paper is to proffer a series of objections to the God machine thought experiment, as presented by Savulescu and Persson, The Monist, 95, 399-421,. The second aim is to show that these objections must be overcome by any form of direct moral intervention by technological means, not just the God machine. The objections raised against the god machine involve questioning its intelligibility in light of established views on the relationship between beliefs, desires, intention and intentional (...)
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  • Criminal Responsibility and Neuroscience: No Revolution Yet.Ariane Bigenwald & Valerian Chambon - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Enhancing Moral Conformity and Enhancing Moral Worth.Thomas Douglas - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (1):75-91.
    It is plausible that we have moral reasons to become better at conforming to our moral reasons. However, it is not always clear what means to greater moral conformity we should adopt. John Harris has recently argued that we have reason to adopt traditional, deliberative means in preference to means that alter our affective or conative states directly—that is, without engaging our deliberative faculties. One of Harris’ concerns about direct means is that they would produce only a superficial kind of (...)
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  • Would Moral Enhancement Limit Freedom?Antonio Diéguez & Carissa Véliz - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):29-36.
    The proposal of moral enhancement as a valuable means to face the environmental, technological and social challenges that threaten the future of humanity has been criticized by a number of authors. One of the main criticisms has been that moral enhancement would diminish our freedom. It has been said that moral enhancement would lead enhanced people to lose their ‘freedom to fall’, that is, it would prevent them from being able to decide to carry out some morally bad actions, and (...)
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  • Politiken des Lebens. Technik, Moral und Recht als institutionelle Gestalten der menschlichen Lebensform.Rastko Jovanov (ed.) - 2015 - IFDT.
  • Moral Neuroenhancement.Brian D. Earp, Thomas Douglas & Julian Savulescu - 2017 - In L. Syd M. Johnson & Karen S. Rommelfanger (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Neuroethics. Routledge.
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  • How (Not) to Argue For Moral Enhancement: Reflections on a Decade of Debate.Norbert Paulo & Jan Christoph Bublitz - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):95-109.
    The controversy over moral bioenhancement has fallen into a stalemate between advocates and critics. We wish to overcome this stalemate by addressing some of the key challenges any moral enhancement project has to meet. In particular, we shall argue that current proposals are unpersuasive as they, first, fail to diagnose the often complex causes of contemporary moral maladies and, second, are premised on methodological individualism. Focusing on brains and minds neglects social and environmental factors. Solving the mega-problems of today very (...)
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  • Toward Realism About Genetic Enhancement.G. Owen Schaefer - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (7):28-30.
    Volume 19, Issue 7, July 2019, Page 28-30.
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  • Some Optimism About Enhancement.Moti Gorin & Jesse Gray - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics 19 (7):26-28.
    Volume 19, Issue 7, July 2019, Page 26-28.
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  • Egalitarianism and Moral Bioenhancement.Robert Sparrow - 2014 - American Journal of Bioethics 14 (4):20-28.
    A number of philosophers working in applied ethics and bioethics are now earnestly debating the ethics of what they term “moral bioenhancement.” I argue that the society-wide program of biological manipulations required to achieve the purported goals of moral bioenhancement would necessarily implicate the state in a controversial moral perfectionism. Moreover, the prospect of being able to reliably identify some people as, by biological constitution, significantly and consistently more moral than others would seem to pose a profound challenge to egalitarian (...)
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  • ‘The Thorny and Arduous Path of Moral Progress’: Moral Psychology and Moral Enhancement.Chris Zarpentine - 2013 - Neuroethics 6 (1):141-153.
    The moral enhancement of humans by biological or genetic means has recently been urged as a response to the pressing concerns facing human civilization. In this paper, I argue that proponents of biological moral enhancement have misrepresented the facts of human moral psychology. As a result, the likely effectiveness of traditional methods of moral enhancement has been underestimated, relative to biological or genetic means. I review arguments in favor of biological moral enhancement and argue that the complexity of moral psychology (...)
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  • On Defining Moral Enhancement: A Clarificatory Taxonomy.Kasper Raus, Farah Focquaert, Maartje Schermer, Jona Specker & Sigrid Sterckx - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (3):263-273.
    Recently there has been some discussion concerning a particular type of enhancement, namely ‘ moral enhancement ’. However, there is no consensus on what precisely constitutes moral enhancement, and as a result the concept is used and defined in a wide variety of ways. In this article, we develop a clarificatory taxonomy of these definitions and we identify the criteria that are used to delineate the concept. We think that the current definitions can be distinguished from each other by the (...)
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  • Moral Enhancement and Self-Subversion Objections.Kelly Sorensen - 2014 - Neuroethics 7 (3):275-286.
    Some say moral bioenhancements are urgent and necessary; others say they are misguided or simply will not work. I examine a class of arguments claiming that moral bioenhancements are problematic because they are self-subverting. On this view, trying to make oneself or others more moral, at least through certain means, can itself be immoral, or at least worse than the alternatives. The thought here is that moral enhancements might fail not for biological reasons, but for specifically morally self-referential reasons. I (...)
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  • The Role of Emotion Modulation in Moral Bioenhancement Debate.Karolina Kudlek - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):113-123.
    This paper aims to analyze technical and internal aspects of one particular type of human moral enhancement, i.e. enhancement of moral motivation via direct emotion modulation. More precisely, it challenges the assumption that modifying certain emotions will have the results desired by the advocates of this theory. It is argued that neuropsychological understanding of the role and function of emotions, as well as of underlying cognitive mechanisms, might be relevant for the discussion about biomedical enhancement of moral capacities. Moreover, typical (...)
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  • Would We Even Know Moral Bioenhancement If We Saw It?Harris Wiseman - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (3):398-410.
    :The term “moral bioenhancement” conceals a diverse plurality encompassing much potential, some elements of which are desirable, some of which are disturbing, and some of which are simply bland. This article invites readers to take a better differentiated approach to discriminating between elements of the debate rather than talking of moral bioenhancement “per se,” or coming to any global value judgments about the idea as an abstract whole. Readers are then invited to consider the benefits and distortions that come from (...)
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  • Are You Morally Modified?: The Moral Effects of Widely Used Pharmaceuticals.Neil Levy, Thomas Douglas, Guy Kahane, Sylvia Terbeck, Philip J. Cowen, Miles Hewstone & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (2):111-125.
    A number of concerns have been raised about the possible future use of pharmaceuticals designed to enhance cognitive, affective, and motivational processes, particularly where the aim is to produce morally better decisions or behavior. In this article, we draw attention to what is arguably a more worrying possibility: that pharmaceuticals currently in widespread therapeutic use are already having unintended effects on these processes, and thus on moral decision making and morally significant behavior. We review current evidence on the moral effects (...)
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  • Moral Enhancement and Political Realism.Marcelo de Araujo - 2014 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 24 (2):29-43.
    The possibility of morally enhancing the behavior of individuals by means of drugs and genetic engineering has been the object of intense philosophical discussion over the last few years. However; although moral enhancement may turn out to be useful to promote cooperation in some areas of human interaction; it will not promote cooperation in the domain of international relations in those areas that are critical to state security. Unlike some moral enhancement theorists; I argue that; because of the structure of (...)
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  • Should We Biochemically Enhance Sexual Fidelity?Robbie Arrell - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:389-414.
    In certain corners of the moral enhancement debate, it has been suggested we ought to consider the prospect of supplementing conventional methods of enhancing sexual fidelity (e.g. relationship counselling, moral education, self-betterment, etc.) with biochemical fidelity enhancement methods. In surveying this argument, I begin from the conviction that generally-speaking moral enhancement ought to expectably attenuate (or at least not exacerbate) vulnerability. Assuming conventional methods of enhancing sexual fidelity are at least partially effective in this respect – e.g., that relationship counselling (...)
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  • Psychedelic Moral Enhancement.Brian D. Earp - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:415-439.
    The moral enhancement debate seems stuck in a dilemma. On the one hand, the more radical proposals, while certainly novel and interesting, seem unlikely to be feasible in practice, or if technically feasible then most likely imprudent. But on the other hand, the more sensible proposals – sensible in the sense of being both practically achievable and more plausibly ethically justifiable – can be rather hard to distinguish from both traditional forms of moral enhancement, such as non-drug-mediated social or moral (...)
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  • Is Moral Enhancement a Right, or a Threat to Rights?John R. Shook - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:209-231.
    Enhancements for morality could become technologically practical at the expense of becoming unethical and uncivil. A mode of moral enhancement intensifying a person's imposition of conformity upon others, labeled here as “moral righteousness”, is particularly problematic. Moral energies contrary to expansions of civil rights and liberties can drown out reasoned justifications for equality and freedom, delaying social progress. The technological capacity of moral righteousness in the hands of a majority could impose puritanical conformities and override some rights and liberties. Fortunately, (...)
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  • Kantian Challenges for the Bioenhancement of Moral Autonomy.Anna Frammartino Wilks - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:121-143.
    In the debate over moral bioenhancement, some object that biochemical, genetic, and neurological interventions aiming at enhancing moral agency threaten the autonomy of persons, as they compromise moral deliberation and motivation. Opponents of this view argue that such interventions may actually enhance autonomy itself, thereby increasing a person's capacity for moral agency. My aim is to explore the various senses of autonomy commonly appealed to in such controversies and to expose their limitations in resolving the central disputed issues. I propose (...)
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  • Moral Enhancement as a Collective Action Problem.Walter Glannon - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:59-85.
    In light of the magnitude of interpersonal harm and the risk of greater harm in the future, Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu have argued for pharmacological enhancement of moral behaviour. I discuss moral bioenhancement as a set of collective action problems. Psychotropic drugs or other forms of neuromodulation designed to enhance moral sensitivity would have to produce the same or similar effects in the brains of a majority of people. Also, a significant number of healthy subjects would have to participate (...)
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  • Public Attitudes Towards Moral Enhancement. Evidence That Means Matter Morally.Jona Specker, Maartje H. N. Schermer & Peter B. Reiner - 2017 - Neuroethics 10 (3):405-417.
    To gain insight into the reasons that the public may have for endorsing or eschewing pharmacological moral enhancement for themselves or for others, we used empirical tools to explore public attitudes towards these issues. Participants from the United States were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and were randomly assigned to read one of several contrastive vignettes in which a 13-year-old child is described as bullying another student in school and then is offered an empathy-enhancing program. The empathy-enhancing program is described (...)
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  • The Trouble With Moral Enhancement.Inmaculada de Melo-Martín - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:19-33.
    Proponents of moral enhancement believe that we should pursue and apply biotechnological means to morally enhance human beings, as failing to do so is likely to lead to humanity's demise. Unsurprisingly, these proposals have generated a substantial amount of debate about the moral permissibility of using such interventions. Here I put aside concerns about the permissibility of moral enhancement and focus on the conceptual and evidentiary grounds for the moral enhancement project. I argue that such grounds are quite precarious.
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  • Taking Liberties with Free Fall.J. Harris - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (6):371-374.
    In his ‘Moral Enhancement, Freedom, and What We Value in Moral Behaviour’,1 David DeGrazia sets out to defend moral bioenhancement from a number of critics, me prominently among them. Here he sets out his stall: "Many scholars doubt what I assert: that there is nothing inherently wrong with MB. Some doubt this on the basis of a conviction that there is something inherently wrong with biomedical enhancement technologies in general. Chief among their objections are the charges that biomedical enhancement is (...)
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  • Voluntary Moral Enhancement and the Survival-at-Any-Cost Bias.V. Raki - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (4):246-250.
    I discuss the argument of Persson and Savulescu that moral enhancement ought to accompany cognitive enhancement, as well as briefly addressing critiques of this argument, notably by John Harris. I argue that Harris, who believes that cognitive enhancement is largely sufficient for making us behave more morally, might be disposing too easily of the great quandary of our moral existence: the gap between what we do and what we believe is morally right to do. In that regard, Persson and Savulescu's (...)
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  • Moral Bioenhancement Through Memory-Editing: A Risk for Identity and Authenticity?Andrea Lavazza - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):15-27.
    Moral bioenhancement is the attempt to improve human behavioral dispositions, especially in relation to the great ethical challenges of our age. To this end, scientists have hypothesised new molecules or even permanent changes in the genetic makeup to achieve such moral bioenhancement. The philosophical debate has focused on the permissibility and desirability of that enhancement and the possibility of making it mandatory, given the positive result that would follow. However, there might be another way to enhance the overall moral behavior (...)
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  • Moral Deficits, Moral Motivation and the Feasibility of Moral Bioenhancement.Fabrice Jotterand & Susan B. Levin - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):63-71.
    The debate over moral bioenhancement has incrementally intensified since 2008, when Persson and Savulescu, and Douglas wrote two separate articles on the reasons why enhancing human moral capabilities and sensitivity through technological means was ethically desirable. In this article, we offer a critique of how Persson and Savulescu theorize about the possibility of moral bioenhancement, including the problem of weakness of will, which they see as a motivational challenge. First, we offer a working definition of moral bioenhancement and underscore some (...)
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  • The Moral Agency Argument Against Moral Bioenhancement.Massimo Reichlin - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):53-62.
    It is often contended that certain enhancement technologies are acceptable, because they simply update traditional ways of pursuing the improvement of human capacities. This is not true with reference to moral bioenhancement, because of the radical difference between traditional and biotechnological ways of producing moral progress. These latter risk having serious negative effects on our moral agency, by causing a substantial loss of freedom and capacity of authentic moral behaviour, by affecting our moral identity and by imposing a standard conception (...)
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  • Moral Bio-Enhancement, Freedom, Value and the Parity Principle.Jonathan Pugh - 2019 - Topoi 38 (1):73-86.
    A prominent objection to non-cognitive moral bio-enhancements is that they would compromise the recipient’s ‘freedom to fall’. I begin by discussing some ambiguities in this objection, before outlining an Aristotelian reading of it. I suggest that this reading may help to forestall Persson and Savulescu’s ‘God-Machine’ criticism; however, I suggest that the objection still faces the problem of explaining why the value of moral conformity is insufficient to outweigh the value of the freedom to fall itself. I also question whether (...)
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  • Direct Brain Interventions, Changing Values and the Argument From Objectification – a Reply to Elizabeth Shaw.Sebastian Holmen - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (2):217-227.
    This paper critically discusses the argument from objectification – as recently presented by Elizabeth Shaw – against mandatory direct brain interventions targeting criminal offenders’ values as part of rehabilitative or reformative schemes. Shaw contends that such DBIs would objectify offenders because a DBI “excludes offenders by portraying them as a group to whom we need not listen” and “implies that offenders are radically defective with regard to one of the most fundamental aspects of their agency”. To ensure that offenders are (...)
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  • Doing Good, Choosing Freely: How Moral Enhancement Can Be Compatible with Individual Freedom.Joshua M. Brostoff - 2018 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 27 (4):698-709.
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  • The New Ethics of Neuroethics.Tom Buller - 2018 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 27 (4):558-565.
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  • The Ethics of Human Enhancement.Alberto Giubilini & Sagar Sanyal - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (4):233-243.
    Ethical debate surrounding human enhancement, especially by biotechnological means, has burgeoned since the turn of the century. Issues discussed include whether specific types of enhancement are permissible or even obligatory, whether they are likely to produce a net good for individuals and for society, and whether there is something intrinsically wrong in playing God with human nature. We characterize the main camps on the issue, identifying three main positions: permissive, restrictive and conservative positions. We present the major sub-debates and lines (...)
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  • Genome Editing for Involuntary Moral Enhancement.Vojin Rakić - 2019 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 28 (1):46-54.
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  • Moral Enhancement: Do Means Matter Morally?Farah Focquaert & Maartje Schermer - 2015 - Neuroethics 8 (2):139-151.
    One of the reasons why moral enhancement may be controversial, is because the advantages of moral enhancement may fall upon society rather than on those who are enhanced. If directed at individuals with certain counter-moral traits it may have direct societal benefits by lowering immoral behavior and increasing public safety, but it is not directly clear if this also benefits the individual in question. In this paper, we will discuss what we consider to be moral enhancement, how different means may (...)
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