Moral Bio-enhancement, Freedom, Value and the Parity Principle

Topoi 38 (1):73-86 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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 the objection is compatible with Neil Levy’s parity principle. Accordingly, I go on to consider an alternative relational freedom-based objection to NCMBEs that aims to explain the fundamental moral importance of the freedom that NCMBEs would violate. I argue that although this strategy might allow the critic of NCMBEs to bypass a powerful criticism of Harris’ objection, it also weakens the freedom-based objection’s compatibility with the parity principle.

Similar books and articles

Rawlsian Incentives and the Freedom Objection.Gerald Lang - 2016 - Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (2):231-249.
Climate change and human moral enhancement.Tvrtko Jolic - 2014 - In Mladen Domazet & Dinka Marinovic Jerolimov (eds.), Sustainability Perspectives from the European Semi-periphery. Institute for social research. pp. 79-91.
Freedom and moral enhancement.Michael J. Selgelid - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (4):215-216.
The perils of moral enhancement.Aleksandar Dobrijevic - 2012 - Filozofija I Društvo 23 (2):104-110.
Can virtue make us happy?: the art of living and morality.Otfried Hoffe - 2010 - Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press. Edited by Douglas R. McGaughey & Aaron Bunch.
Is Having Pets Morally Permissible?Jessica Toit - 2015 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (3):327-343.


Added to PP

234 (#64,479)

6 months
64 (#29,572)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jonathan Pugh
Oxford University

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 2019 - New York: Hackett Publishing Company. Edited by Michael Pakaluk.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.

View all 71 references / Add more references