On cognitive and moral enhancement: a reply to Savulescu and Persson

Carter, J. A. and Gordon, E. C. (2015) On cognitive and moral enhancement: a reply to Savulescu and Persson. Bioethics, 29(3), pp. 153-161. (doi: 10.1111/bioe.12076)

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In a series of recent works, Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson insist that, given the ease by which irreversible destruction is achievable by a morally wicked minority, (i) strictly cognitive bio‐enhancement is currently too risky, while (ii) moral bio‐enhancement is plausibly morally mandatory (and urgently so). This article aims to show that the proposal Savulescu and Persson advance relies on several problematic assumptions about the separability of cognitive and moral enhancement as distinct aims. Specifically, we propose that the underpinnings of Savulescu's and Persson's normative argument unravel once it is suitably clear how aiming to cognitively enhance an individual will in part require that one aim to bring about certain moral goods we show to be essential to cognitive flourishing; conversely, aiming to bring about moral enhancement in an individual must involve aiming to improve certain cognitive capacities we show to be essential to moral flourishing. After developing these points in some detail, and their implication for Savulescu's & Persson's proposal, we conclude by outlining some positive suggestions.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gordon, Dr Emma and Carter, Dr J Adam
Authors: Carter, J. A., and Gordon, E. C.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Bioethics
ISSN (Online):1467-8519
Published Online:23 December 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
First Published:First published in Bioethics 29(3): 153-161
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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