34. Moral Enhancement

  1. Julian Savulescu,
  2. Ruud ter Meulen and
  3. Guy Kahane
  1. Thomas Douglas

Published Online: 28 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393552.ch34

Enhancing Human Capacities

Enhancing Human Capacities

How to Cite

Douglas, T. (2011) Moral Enhancement, in Enhancing Human Capacities (eds J. Savulescu, R. t. Meulen and G. Kahane), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781444393552.ch34

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 18 MAR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405195812

Online ISBN: 9781444393552



  • bioconservative thesis;
  • moral emotions;
  • moral enhancement


The opponents of enhancement do not all set out to defend a common and clearly specified thesis. However, several would either assent or be attracted to the following claim (henceforth, the bioconservative thesis): Even if it were technically possible and legally permissible for people to engage in biomedical enhancement, it would not be morally permissible for them to do so. The scope of this thesis needs to be clarified. This chapter argues that the bioconservative thesis, thus qualified, is false. There is clearly scope for most people to morally enhance themselves. According to every plausible moral theory, people often have bad or suboptimally good motives. The author tentatively argues that it would sometimes be morally permissible for people to biomedically mitigate their counter-moral emotions. The chapter concludes with a scenario consisting of five assumptions that will be morally permissible for people to morally enhance themselves.