Moral Enhancement and Those Left Behind

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Abstract

Opponents to genetic or biomedical human enhancement often claim that the availability of these technologies would have negative consequences for those who either choose not to utilize these resources or lack access to them. However, Thomas Douglas has argued that this objection has no force against the use of technologies that aim to bring about morally desirable character traits, as the unenhanced would benefit from being surrounded by such people. I will argue that things are not as straightforward as Douglas makes out. The widespread use of moral enhancement would raise the standards for praise and blame worthiness, making it much harder for the unenhanced to perform praiseworthy actions or avoid performing blameworthy actions. This shows that supporters of moral enhancement cannot avoid this challenge in the way that Douglas suggests.

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