Giuseppe Turchi

From Moral Bioenhancement to Epigenetic Proaction

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Moral Bio-Enhancement; Pragmatism; Neuroethics; Epigenetic Proaction.

In this paper I will discuss some of the arguments presented in "Unfit for the Future" and the concept of "virtue engineering" proposed by Hughes. Persson and Savulescu promote a reductionistic view of moral intuitions suggesting that oxytocin, serotonin and genetic treatments could save humanity from the perils of contemporary liberalism, weapons of mass destruction and uncontrolled pollution, whereas Hughes supports the hypothesis that the same biomedical means could even create virtues in individuals. I will contend that although we need a moral enhancement it cannot be a brute manipulation of our biological basis but something where plasticity and moral imagination must be seen as a priority. Following the lesson of Dewey's instrumentalism, I advocate for a pluralistic view where neuroscientific data may be used to develop a more effective moral pedagogy. The studies of Kathinka Evers and Darcia Narvaez offer the theoretical and practical background to foster an epigenetic proaction, namely the possibility to adapt our social structures to benefit, influence, and constructively interact with the neuronal architecture of our brains. In my opinion, this prospect is currently much more feasible (and less risky) than a hypothetical mass psychocivilisation with drugs and genetic engineering.

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