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IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher Publishes New Paper on Moral Enhancement
Aug 14, 2016   Neuroethics  

IEET Affiliate Scholar John Danaher has a new paper coming out in the journal Neuroethics. This one argues that directly augmenting the brain might be the most politically appropriate method of moral enhancement. This paper brings together his work on enhancement, the extended mind, and the political consequences of advanced algorithmic governance. Details below:

Title: Why Internal Moral Enhancement Might be Politically Better than External Moral Enhancement
Journal: Neuroethics
Links: Official; Philpapers; Academia
Abstract: Technology could be used to improve morality but it could do so in different ways. Some technologies could augment and enhance moral behaviour externally by using external cues and signals to push and pull us towards morally appropriate behaviours. Other technologies could enhance moral behaviour internally by directly altering the way in which the brain captures and processes morally salient information or initiates moral action. The question is whether there is any reason to prefer one method over the other? In this article, I argue that there is. Specifically, I argue that internal moral enhancement is likely to be preferable to external moral enhancement, when it comes to the legitimacy of political decision-making processes. In fact, I go further than this and argue that the increasingly dominant forms of external moral enhancement (algorithm-assisted enhancement) may already be posing a significant threat to political legitimacy, one that we should try to address. Consequently, research and development of internal moral enhancements should be prioritised as a political project.


We have had millennia to deal with this. And now you say we must do this that and the other? Who has been asleep here? The answers are all over history, philosophy esp those from southern Asia and the rising eastern Asia. As for ‘external moral enhancement’ sounds trippy sci-fi-malheurism. As for the rise the submission of the human race to algorithms well history being the only guide worth it shows the majority submitting to relentless recurring idiocies like bowing the kings, emperors, scraping the floor to pontiffs and other psychotic criminals. We are the seeds of our own evolution.

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