The Morality of Moral Neuroenhancement

Reference work entry


This chapter reviews recent philosophical literature on the morality of moral enhancement. It first briefly outlines the main moral arguments that have been made concerning moral status neuroenhancements: neurointerventions that would augment the moral status of human persons. It then surveys recent debate regarding moral desirability neuroenhancements: neurointerventions that augment that the moral desirability of human character traits, motives, or conduct. This debate has contested, among other claims, (i) Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu’s contention that there is a moral imperative to pursue the development of moral desirability neuroenhancements, (ii) Thomas Douglas’ claim that voluntarily undergoing moral desirability neuroenhancements would often be morally permissible, and (iii) David DeGrazia’s claim that moral desirability neuroenhancements would often be morally desirable. The chapter discusses a number of concerns that have been raised regarding moral desirability neuroenhancements, including concerns that they would restrict freedom; would produce only a superficial kind of moral improvement; would rely on technologies that are liable to be misused; and would frequently misfire, resulting in moral deterioration rather than moral improvement.


Character Trait Moral Status Scientific Progress Mental Capacity Cognitive Enhancement 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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