John Danaher
University College, Galway
A common objection to moral enhancement is that it would undermine our moral freedom and that this is a bad thing because moral freedom is a great good. Michael Hauskeller has defended this view on a couple of occasions using an arresting thought experiment called the 'Little Alex' problem. In this paper, I reconstruct the argument Hauskeller derives from this thought experiment and subject it to critical scrutiny. I claim that the argument ultimately fails because (a) it assumes that moral freedom is an intrinsic good when, in fact, it is more likely to be an axiological catalyst; and (b) there are reasons to think that moral enhancement does not undermine moral freedom.
Keywords Enhancement  Moral Enhancement  Freedom  Autonomy  Non-domination
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s1358246118000371
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Moral Enhancement and Freedom.John Harris - 2011 - Bioethics 25 (2):102-111.
Evil and Omnipotence.J. L. Mackie - 1955 - Mind 64 (254):200-212.
Freedom as Independence.Christian List & Laura Valentini - 2016 - Ethics 126 (4):1043–1074.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Can Self-Validating Neuroenhancement Be Autonomous?Jukka Varelius - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (1):51-59.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Enhancement, Self-Governance, and Resistance.Pei-Hua Huang - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (5):547-567.
The Perils of Moral Enhancement.Aleksandar Dobrijevic - 2012 - Filozofija I Društvo 23 (2):104-110.
Moral Perfection and the Demand for Human Enhancement.Adriana Warmbier - forthcoming - Ethics in Progress 2015 (No.1).
Moral Enhancement and Freedom.John Harris - 2011 - Bioethics 25 (2):102-111.
The Misfortunes of Moral Enhancement.Marco Antonio Azevedo - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (5):461-479.
Moral Enhancement Can Kill.Parker Crutchfield - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (5):568-584.
Amoral Enhancement.Saskia E. Verkiel - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (1):52-55.
Freedom and Moral Enhancement.Michael J. Selgelid - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (4):215-216.


Added to PP index

Total views
645 ( #12,638 of 2,518,713 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
44 ( #19,344 of 2,518,713 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes