AJOB Neuroscience.

Neuroethics and the Possible Types of Moral Enhancement

Techniques for achieving moral enhancement will modify brain processes to produce what is alleged to be more moral conduct. Neurophilosophy and neuroethics must ponder what “moral enhancement” could possibly be, if possible at all. Objections to the very possibility of moral enhancement, raised from various philosophical and neuroscientific standpoints, fail to justify skepticism, but they do place serious constraints on the kinds of efficacious moral enhancers. While there won’t be a “morality pill,” and hopes for global moral enlightenment will remain hopes, there will be a large variety of behavioral modifiers described as enhancers of some aspect of morality or another according to prevailing social norms. The most likely moral enhancers that will be designed, tested, and marketed in the near future will attempt to alleviate seriously immoral and illegal behavior. Some enhancers diminishing antisocial conduct and a few designed to elevate moral conduct above normal levels will also become available, although their widespread use is doubtful. There will also be specialized modifications for enhancing whatever an individual personally regards as moral, and for enabling better performance by a person in an operational role. A measure of skepticism toward all the proposed kinds of moral enhancement is advised, and where political implementation of moral enhancers is concerned, a healthy amount of cynicism as well.

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Volume 3, Issue 4
October 2012