Moral Bioenhancement: Much Ado About Nothing?

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Abstract

Recently, some have proposed moral bioenhancement as a solution to the serious moral evils that humans face. Seemingly disillusioned with traditional methods of moral education, proponents of bioenhancement believe that we should pursue and apply biotechnological means to morally enhance human beings. Such proposal has generated a lively debate about the permissibility of moral bioenhancement. We argue here that such debate is specious. The claim that moral bioenhancement is a solution – whether permissible or not – to the serious moral problems that affect human beings is based on several problematic framing assumptions. We evaluate here three of such assumptions: the first rests on a contested understanding of morality, the second consist in a mistaken conception of human moral problems, and the third relates to problematic presuppositions grounding the interpretation of existent scientific evidence presented to defend moral bioenhancement. Once these framing assumptions are identified and critically evaluated, it becomes clear that the moral bioenhancement debate is misguided.

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