Moral Conservatism, Human Enhancement and the ‘Affective Revolution’ in Moral Psychology
An ARC Discovery Project, running from March 2013 to February 2016.
Summary of proposal
We can enhance human mental and physical abilities above
normal limits in various ways and will be able to
do so in many more ways in the future. Debates between moral conservatives and
liberals, about whether it
is ethically acceptable to enhance ourselves, have seemed intractable with each
side relying on radically
distinct methods to support their views. We will draw on the intellectual
resources of moral psychology, which
has experienced an 'affective revolution' in the past decade, to resolve these
apparently intractable debates.
We will then recommend policy compromises between moral conservatives and their liberal opponents in bioethics to inform regulation of enhancement technologies that can win broad acceptance while being just.
Chief Investigator Dr Steve Clarke, Charles Sturt University More
Chief Investigator Prof Tony Coady, University of Melbourne More
Partner Investigator Prof Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford More
Project Researcher Dr Alberto Giubilini, Charles Sturt University More
Project Researcher Dr Sagar Sanyal, University of Melbourne More
Synopsis: The prospect of enhancing human mental and physical abilities above normal limits has been enthusiastically embraced by several leading bioethicists and philosophers. However, many people are alarmed by the thought of humans being able to enhance themselves, fearing that this ability may be misused. During the conference leading philosophers and bioethicists came together to discuss whether or not human enhancement is the destiny we should embrace or a potential disaster we should avoid.
The complete playlist is now live: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-7qI6NZpO3s7f53DFgJLEByHUhadILiN
- Francesca Minerva, University of Melbourne: From Disability to Enhancement
- Simon Longstaff, St. James Ethics Centre: On the Virtue of Being Vulnerable
- Russell Powell, Boston University: The Evolution of Enhancement: Toward a Naturalistic Theory of Moral Progress
- Karim Jebari, Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm: Human Nature and the Spectre of Human Enhancement
- Russell Blackford, University of Newcastle: What if Nothing is Sacred? Politics and Bioethics without Sanctity
- Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford: Partiality to Humanity and Enhancement
- Justin Oakley, Monash University: Personal Integrity, Role Alienation, and Utilitarian Moral Enhancement
- C.A.J. Coady, University of Melbourne: Reason, Emotion and Morality: Some Cautions for the Enhancement Project
The researchers on the project will be co-editing
a collection of papers relevant to the project which is scheduled to be
published by Oxford University Press in late 2016:
Clarke, S., Savulescu, J., Coady, C. A. J., Giubilini, A. and Sanyal, S. (eds.) (forthcoming). The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Giubilini, A. and Clarke, S. (2015). ‘Stop Wishing. Start Doing! Motivational Enhancement is Already in Use’, AJOB Neuroscience, 6 (1), pp. 29-31.
Jefferson, W., Douglas, T., Kahane, G., Savulescu, J. (2014). 'Enhancement and Civic Virtue'. Social Theory and Practice 40(3):499-527
Brian D. Earp, Anders Sandberg, Guy Kahane, Julian Savulescu (2014). 'When is diminishment a form of enhancement? Rethinking the enhancement debate in biomedical ethics'. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience Vol. 8, Article 12, 1-8.
Maslen, H., Douglas, T., Levy, N., Cohen-Kadosh, R. Savulescu, J, (2014). 'The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: Extending the medical model', Journal of Law and the Biosciences 1(1): 68-93.
Giubilini, A. (forthcoming). Don’t mind the gap. Intuitions, emotions and reasons in the enhancement debate, Hastings Center Report, forthcoming (accepted 21 Nov 2014)
Giubilini A. and Sanyal S. (forthcoming). The ethics of human enhancement. Philosophy Compass. Forthcoming (accepted 22 Nov 2014).
Giubilini A. (forthcoming) Normality, health, and enhancement. What should bioconservatives say about the medicalization of love?, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.
Clarke, S. ‘A Religious Conception of Evil’, forthcoming in Moral Evil in Practical Ethics, edited by Shlomit Harrosh and Roger Crisp: Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accepted for publication 1/10/2013.
Savulescu, J., Douglas, T., and Persson, I, (2014) Response to Commentators, Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues, edited by Akira Akabyashi, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 131-138
Savulescu, J., Persson, I and Douglas, T. (2014) ‘Autonomy and the Ethics of Behavioural Modification’ Future of Bioethics: International Dialogues, edited by Akira Akabayashi, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 91- 112
On 20-21 March 2014 the project researchers held a workshop at the University of Melbourne: "Human Enhancement: the Moral Challenge". Participants included Nicholas Agar (Victoria University of Wellington), Linda Barclay (Monash University), Jeanette Kennett (Macquarie University), Josh May (University of Birmingham, Alabama), John McMillan (University of Otago), Rebecca Roache (University of Oxford), Michael Selgelid (Monash University), Rob Sparrow (Monash University), Bernadette Tobin (Australian Catholic University), Suzanne Uniacke (Charles Sturt University), John Weckert (Charles Sturt University) and the five project researchers. A workshop program is available here
PI Julian Savulescu has co-authored a paper with Guy Kahane which is relevant to the project, and is forthcoming in the journal Bioethics: G. Kahane and J. Savulescu, 'Normal Human Variation: Refocusing the Enhancement Debate', Bioethics: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bioe.12045/full
PI Julian Savulescu has co-authored a paper with Jonathan Pugh and Guy Kahane which was published in the Journal of Ethics in late 2013 which is relevant to the project:
J. Pugh, G. Kahane and J. Savulescu (2013) 'Cohen's Conservatism and Human Enhancement', Journal of Ethics, 17, 4, pp. 331-354: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10892-013-9151-0
In September 2013 Project Researchers Alberto Giubilini and Sagar Sanyal completed a survey of literature relevant to the project entitled 'Moral Conservatism in the Time of Biotechnologies'. The survey is available here.