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What to Enhance: Behaviour, Emotion or Disposition?
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2014 (English)In: Neuroethics, ISSN 1874-5490, E-ISSN 1874-5504, Vol. 7, no 3, 253-261 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As we learn more about the human brain, novel biotechnological means to modulate human behaviour and emotional dispositions become possible. These technologies could be used to enhance our morality. Moral bioenhancement, an instance of human enhancement, alters a person’s dispositions, emotions or behaviour in order to make that person more moral. I will argue that moral bioenhancement could be carried out in three different ways. The first strategy, well known from science fiction, is behavioural enhancement. The second strategy, favoured by prominent defenders of moral bioenhancement, is emotional enhancement. The third strategy is the enhancement of moral dispositions, such as empathy and inequity aversion. I will argue that we ought to implement a combination of the second and third strategies. Furthermore, I will argue that the usual arguments against other instances of human enhancement do not apply to moral bioenhancement, or apply only to the first strategy, behavioural enhancement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 7, no 3, 253-261 p.
Keyword [en]
Empathy, Freedom, Human enhancement, Moral bioenhancement, Neuroethics
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156722DOI: 10.1007/s12152-014-9204-5ISI: 000346928000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84912113630OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-156722DiVA: diva2:767820
Note

QC 20150114

Available from: 2014-12-02 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Human enhancement and technological uncertainty: Essays on the promise and peril of emerging technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human enhancement and technological uncertainty: Essays on the promise and peril of emerging technology
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Essay I explores brain machine interface (BMI) technologies. These make direct communication between the brain and a machine possible by means of electrical stimuli. This essay reviews the existing and emerging technologies in this field and offers an inquiry into the ethical problems that are likely to emerge.

Essay II, co-written with professor Sven-Ove Hansson, presents a novel procedure to engage the public in deliberations on the potential impacts of technology.  This procedure, convergence seminar, is a form of scenario-based discussion that is founded on the idea of hypothetical retrospection. The theoretical background and the results of the five seminars are presented.

Essay III discusses moral bioenhancement, an instance of human enhancement that alters a person’s dispositions, emotions or behavior. Moral bioenhancement could be carried out in three different ways. The first strategy is behavioral enhancement. The second strategy, favored by prominent defenders of moral enhancement, is emotional enhancement. The third strategy is the enhancement of moral dispositions, such as empathy and inequity aversion. I argue that we ought to implement a combination of the second and third strategies.

Essay IV considers the possibility and potential desirability of sensory enhancement. It is proposed that existing sensory modalities in vertebrate animals are proof of concept of what is biologically possible to create in humans. Three considerations on the normative aspects of sensory enhancement are also presented in this essay.

Essay V rejects disease prioritarianism, the idea that the healthcare system ought to prioritize the treatment of diseases. Instead, an approach that focuses on what medicine can accomplish is proposed.

Essay VI argues that from the idea that species have an intrinsic value and that humanity has a collective responsibility to protect animal species from extinction, the conclusion that we ought to recreate species follows.

Essay VII argues that unknown existential risks have not been properly addressed. It proposes a heuristic for doing so, and a concrete strategy. This strategy consists in building refuges that could withstand a large number of catastrophic events.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. v, 34 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 50
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156724 (URN)978-91-7595-341-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-12, D2, Lindstetsvägen 5, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20141204

Available from: 2014-12-04 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2014-12-18Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full textScopushttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12152-014-9204-5

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