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Moral Bioenhancement, Social Biases, and the Regulation of Empathy

  • Keisha Ray
  • Lori Gallegos de Castillo


Some proponents of moral bioenhancement propose that people should utilize biomedical practices to enhance the faculties and traits that are associated with moral agency, such as empathy and a sense of justice. The hope is that doing so will improve our ability to meet the moral challenges that have emerged in our contemporary, globalized world. In this paper, we caution against this view by arguing that biomedically inducing more empathy may, in fact, diminish moral agency. We argue that this type of increase in empathy would not be effective for addressing empathy’s vulnerability to the biases that can undermine moral judgment. Furthermore, doing so may undermine the important capacity to regulate empathy. We determine that if the moral enhancement project is to be a serious one, it must address these challenges.


Moral enhancement Morality Empathy Empathy deficits Biases Regulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Texas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

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