In Mladen Domazet & Dinka Marinovic Jerolimov (eds.), Sustainability Perspectives from the European Semi-periphery. Institute for social research. pp. 79-91 (2014)

Tvrtko Jolic
University of Zagreb (PhD)
In this article I discuss a recent proposal according to which human beings are in need of moral enhancement by novel biomedical means in order to reduce the risk of catastrophes that could threaten the very possibility of continued human existence on this planet. I raise two objections to this proposal. The first objection claims that the idea that human beings could be morally enhanced by altering our emotional psychological inclinations, such as altruism, is misguided. In the line with Kantian understanding of morality I argue that our morality is based on rationality and not on inclinations. If we take this view of morality it becomes clear that the proposed enhancement by biomedical means cannot be moral enhancement. What is enhanced is emotional aspect of our character, not our morality. People enhanced in this way would not act on the basis of their deliberate choices but on basis of preprogramed psychological inclination. This would in turn undermine our basic moral concept of freedom and, thereby, of moral responsibility. The second objection to the proposal show how the idea that moral enhancement by biomedical means should be mandatory violates political freedom of citizens. Faced with the objection that moral enhancement by biomedical means could be necessary in order to prevent catastrophic destruction of environment, in the final part of this chapter I try to point to education and liberal democracy as the alternative and morally acceptable ways of changing our behaviour.
Keywords altruism  biomedical enhancement  morality  freedom  liberal democracy
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