Could Moral Enhancement Interventions be Medically Indicated?

Health Care Analysis 25 (4):338-353 (2017)

Sarah Carter-Walshaw
University of Leeds
This paper explores the position that moral enhancement interventions could be medically indicated in cases where they provide a remedy for a lack of empathy, when such a deficit is considered pathological. In order to argue this claim, the question as to whether a deficit of empathy could be considered to be pathological is examined, taking into account the difficulty of defining illness and disorder generally, and especially in the case of mental health. Following this, Psychopathy and a fictionalised mental disorder are explored with a view to consider moral enhancement techniques as possible treatments for both conditions. At this juncture, having asserted and defended the position that moral enhancement interventions could, under certain circumstances, be considered medically indicated, this paper then goes on to briefly explore some of the consequences of this assertion. First, it is acknowledged that this broadening of diagnostic criteria in light of new interventions could fall foul of claims of medicalisation. It is then briefly noted that considering moral enhancement technologies to be akin to therapies in certain circumstances could lead to ethical and legal consequences and questions, such as those regarding regulation, access, and even consent.
Keywords Moral enhancement  Bioethics  Neuroethics  Moral therapy  Empathy  Enhancement
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DOI 10.1007/s10728-016-0320-8
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References found in this work BETA

Moral Enhancement and Freedom.John Harris - 2011 - Bioethics 25 (2):102-111.
Moral Enhancement.Thomas Douglas - 2008 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3):228-245.

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Citations of this work BETA

Moral Enhancement Can Kill.Parker Crutchfield - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (5):568-584.
Is Moral Enhancement a Right, or a Threat to Rights?John R. Shook - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83:209-231.

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