Is Freedom Compatible with Moral Neuroenhancement?
Keywords:Moral neuroenhancement, freedom, moral bioenhancement, oxytocin, serotonin, tCDS, lithium, Omega-3, freedom to fall, mental freedom, empathy, moral responsibility, moral sensitivity, moral motivation, counter-moral emotions, racial bias, aggression
New discoveries in the fields of genetics and neurobiology from the last decades have offered scientists more understanding regarding the way in which our biology can influence our behavior and have made more appealing the idea of moral neuroenhancement (or bioenhancement), but one of the main objections to this way of enhancing moral motivation is a hypothetical threat to freedom. Critics argue that our freedom would be in jeopardy if we allowed interventions at our genetical level to predispose us to a certain kind of behaviour, even if that behaviour would be moral. My paper wishes to explore the relation between freedom and moral neuroenhancement in order to see if there really is an incompatibility between these 2 concepts, or if there’s a way in which freedom itself could be enhanced, so that the individual could have more options at his disposal. If moral neuroenhancement can lead to a moral life by improving moral character and predisposing the individual towards being more virtuous, while also leaving our freedom and autonomy unaltered, then we might have a strong reason to consider that freedom can be compatible with moral neuroenhancement and even enhanced by it. In this paper I will argue for the idea that not only is moral neuroenhancement compatible with freedom, but that it can actually expand it and provide us with more moral options to choose from.
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