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Thursday, December 7, 2023

How moral bioenhancement affects perceived praiseworthiness

Lucas, S., Douglas, T., & Faber, N. S. (2023).


Psychological literature indicates that actions performed with the assistance of cognition-enhancing biomedical technologies are often deemed to be less praiseworthy than similar actions performed without such assistance. This study examines (i) whether this result extends to the bioenhancement of moral capacities, and (ii) if so, what explains the effect of moral bioenhancement on perceived praiseworthiness. The findings indicate that actions facilitated by morally bioenhanced individuals are considered less deserving of praise than similar actions facilitated by ‘traditional’ moral enhancement—for example, moral self-education. This diminished praise does not seem to be driven by an aversion to (moral) bioenhancement per se. Instead, it appears to be primarily attributable to a perceived lack of effort exerted by bioenhanced individuals in the course of their moral enhancement. Our findings advance the philosophical discourse on the foundations of praise in the context of moral bioenhancement by elucidating the empirical basis underlying some assumptions commonly employed to argue for or against the permissibility of moral bioenhancement.

It is an open source article.  Link above works.

My summary:

This research shows whether people are less likely to praise morally bioenhanced individuals for their actions. The authors found that people do perceive morally bioenhanced individuals as less deserving of praise than those who achieve moral enhancement through traditional means, such as moral self-education.

The authors argue that this diminished praise is not due to an aversion to moral bioenhancement per se, but rather to a perceived lack of effort on the part of the bioenhanced individual. In other words, people believe that bioenhanced individuals have not had to work as hard to achieve their moral excellence, and therefore deserve less praise for their accomplishments.

This finding has important implications for the development and use of moral bioenhancement technologies. If people are less likely to praise morally bioenhanced individuals, it could lead to a number of negative consequences, such as social stigma and discrimination. Additionally, it could discourage people from using moral bioenhancement technologies, even if they believe that these technologies could help them to become more moral people.