Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Moral Hard-Wiring and Moral Enhancement


In a series of papers (Persson & Savulescu 2008; 2010; 2011a; 2012a; 2013; 2014a) and book (Persson & Savulescu 2012b), we have argued that there is an urgent need to pursue research into the possibility of moral enhancement by biomedical means – e.g. by pharmaceuticals, non-invasive brain stimulation, genetic modification or other means directly modifying biology. The present time brings existential threats which human moral psychology, with its cognitive and moral limitations and biases, is unfit to address.  Exponentially increasing, widely accessible technological advance and rapid globalisation create threats of intentional misuse (e.g. biological or nuclear terrorism) and global collective action problems, such as the economic inequality between developed and developing countries and anthropogenic climate change, which human psychology is not set up to address. We have hypothesized that these limitations are the result of the evolutionary function of morality being to maximize the fitness of small cooperative groups competing for resources. Because these limitations of human moral psychology pose significant obstacles to coping with the current moral mega-problems, we argued that biomedical modification of human moral psychology may be necessary.  We have not argued that biomedical moral enhancement would be a single “magic
bullet” but rather that it could play a role in a comprehensive approach which also features cultural and social measures.

The paper is here.