, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 141–153

‘The Thorny and Arduous Path of Moral Progress’: Moral Psychology and Moral Enhancement

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12152-012-9166-4

Cite this article as:
Zarpentine, C. Neuroethics (2013) 6: 141. doi:10.1007/s12152-012-9166-4


The moral enhancement of humans by biological or genetic means has recently been urged as a response to the pressing concerns facing human civilization. In this paper, I argue that proponents of biological moral enhancement have misrepresented the facts of human moral psychology. As a result, the likely effectiveness of traditional methods of moral enhancement has been underestimated, relative to biological or genetic means. I review arguments in favor of biological moral enhancement and argue that the complexity of moral psychology raises serious problems for such interventions. I offer a programmatic sketch of the ways in which our improved understanding of moral psychology can help facilitate more traditional methods of moral enhancement. I conclude that the best response to the dangers faced by human civilization is the continued use of traditional methods of moral enhancement and the use of our improved understanding of moral psychology to further refine and develop these methods.


Moral enhancement Moral psychology Enhancement Moral development Ecological engineering 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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