Moral enhancement

Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3):228-245 (2008)
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Abstract

Opponents of biomedical enhancement often claim that, even if such enhancement would benefit the enhanced, it would harm others. But this objection looks unpersuasive when the enhancement in question is a moral enhancement — an enhancement that will expectably leave the enhanced person with morally better motives than she had previously. In this article I (1) describe one type of psychological alteration that would plausibly qualify as a moral enhancement, (2) argue that we will, in the medium-term future, probably be able to induce such alterations via biomedical intervention, and (3) defend future engagement in such moral enhancements against possible objections. My aim is to present this kind of moral enhancement as a counter-example to the view that biomedical enhancement is always morally impermissible.

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Thomas Douglas
Oxford University

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