Topoi 38 (1):29-36 (2019)

Carissa Véliz
Oxford University
Antonio Diéguez
Universidad de Málaga
The proposal of moral enhancement as a valuable means to face the environmental, technological and social challenges that threaten the future of humanity has been criticized by a number of authors. One of the main criticisms has been that moral enhancement would diminish our freedom. It has been said that moral enhancement would lead enhanced people to lose their ‘freedom to fall’, that is, it would prevent them from being able to decide to carry out some morally bad actions, and the possibility to desire and carry out these bad actions is an essential ingredient of free will, which would thus be limited or destroyed—or so the argument goes. In this paper we offer an answer to this criticism. We contend that a morally enhanced agent could lose the ‘freedom to fall’ without losing her freedom for two reasons. First, because we do not consider that a morally well-educated person, for whom the ‘freedom to fall’ is a remote option, is less free than an evildoer, and there is no reason to suppose that bioenhancement introduces a significant difference here. Second, because richness in the amount of alternative possibilities of action may be restored if the stated loss is compensated with an improvement in sensitivity and lucidity that can lead to seeing new options and nuances in the remaining possible actions.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11245-017-9466-8
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

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.

View all 42 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.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Climate Change and Human Moral Enhancement.Tvrtko Jolic - 2014 - In Mladen Domazet & Dinka Marinovic Jerolimov (eds.), Sustainability Perspectives from the European Semi-periphery. Institute for social research. pp. 79-91.
The Perils of Moral Enhancement.Aleksandar Dobrijevic - 2012 - Filozofija I Društvo 23 (2):104-110.
The Misfortunes of Moral Enhancement.Marco Antonio Azevedo - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (5):461-479.
Freedom and Moral Enhancement.Michael J. Selgelid - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (4):215-216.
Moral Perfection and the Demand for Human Enhancement.Adriana Warmbier - forthcoming - Ethics in Progress 2015 (No.1).
Moral Enhancement.Thomas Douglas - 2008 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3):228-245.
Moral Enhancement and Freedom.John Harris - 2011 - Bioethics 25 (2):102-111.
Moral Enhancement and Mental Freedom.Christoph Bublitz - 2016 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (1):88-106.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,156 ( #4,915 of 2,498,775 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
167 ( #3,504 of 2,498,775 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes