The moral enhancement of human beings is a constant theme in the history of humanity. Today, faced with the threats of a new, globalised world, concern over this matter is more pressing. For this reason, the use of biotechnology to make human beings more moral has been considered. However, this approach is dangerous and very controversial. The purpose of this article is to argue that the use of another new technology, AI, would be preferable to achieve this goal. Whilst several (...) proposals have been made on how to use AI for moral enhancement, we present an alternative that we argue to be superior to other proposals that have been developed. (shrink)
The history of humankind is full of examples that indicate a constant desire to make human beings more moral. Nowadays, technological breakthroughs might have a significant impact on our moral character and abilities. This is the case of Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. The aim of this paper is to consider the ethical aspects of the use of VR in enhancing empathy. First, we will offer an introduction to VR, explaining its fundamental features, devices and concepts. Then, we will approach the (...) characterization of VR as an “empathy machine,” showing why this medium has aroused so much interest and why, nevertheless, we do not believe it is the ideal way to enhance empathy. As an alternative, we will consider fostering empathy-related abilities through virtual embodiment in avatars. In the conclusion, however, we will, we will examine some of the serious concerns related to the ethical relevance of empathy and will defend the philosophical case for a reason-guided empathy, also suggesting specific guidelines for possible future developments of empathy enhancement projects through VR embodied experiences. (shrink)
Biomedical innovations are making possible the enhancement of human capabilities. There are two philosophical stances on the role that medicine should play in this respect. On the one hand, naturalism rejects every medical intervention that goes beyond preventing and treating disease. On the other hand, welfarism advocates enhancements that foster subjective well-being. We will show that both positions have considerable shortcomings. Consequently, we will introduce a third characterization in which therapies and enhancements can be reconciled with the legitimate objectives of (...) medicine inasmuch as they improve the capabilities that enable the freedom to pursue personal well-being. (shrink)
This paper considers, firstly, to what extent the administration of oxytocin can augment the capacity of empathy in human beings; and secondly, whether or not such practice ought to be allowed. In relation to the latter, the author develops an argument in favour of this intervention by virtue of its consistency with the belief that, if a therapeutic treatment is to be considered acceptable, it is essential that it maximizes the well-being of those affected and that it does not compromise (...) the autonomy of the patient. Having rejected several objections related to the nature of this intervention, the author finally questions its morality on the basis of a concern with its universalizability. (shrink)
Can Artificial Intelligence be more effective than human instruction for the moral enhancement of people? The author argues that it only would be if the use of this technology were aimed at increasing the individual's capacity to reflectively decide for themselves, rather than at directly influencing behaviour. To support this, it is shown how a disregard for personal autonomy, in particular, invalidates the main proposals for applying new technologies, both biomedical and AI-based, to moral enhancement. As an alternative to these (...) proposals, this article proposes a virtual assistant that, through dialogue, neutrality and virtual reality technologies, can teach users to make better moral decisions on their own. The author concludes that, as long as certain precautions are taken in its design, such an assistant could do this better than a human instructor adopting the same educational methodology. (shrink)
Erick J. Ramirez, Miles Elliott and Per‑Erik Milam (2021) have recently claimed that using Virtual Reality (VR) as an educational nudge to promote empathy is unethical. These authors argue that the influence exerted on the participant through virtual simulation is based on the deception of making them believe that they are someone else when this is impossible. This makes the use of VR for empathy enhancement a manipulative strategy in itself. In this article, we show that Ramirez et al.’s ethical (...) rejection of empathy enhancement through VR is based on confusion. First, we show that this misunderstanding stems from the conception of empathy-enhancing simulations solely as failed attempts at “being someone else,” along with ignoring the crucial difference between the psychological perspective-taking processes of imagine-other and imagine-self. Then, having overcome that misconception, we argue that the ethical misgivings about the use of VR to promote empathy should disappear and that these projects have greater potential for behavioural change than purely sympathy-focused interventions. (shrink)
Recommender Systems (RecSys) have been around since the early days of the Internet, helping users navigate the vast ocean of information and the increasingly available options that have been available for us ever since. The range of tasks for which one could use a RecSys is expanding as the technical capabilities grow, with the disruption of Machine Learning representing a tipping point in this domain, as in many others. However, the increase of the technical capabilities of AI-powered RecSys did not (...) come with a thorough consideration of their ethical implications and, despite being a well-established technical domain, the potential impacts of RecSys on their users are still under-assessed. This paper aims at filling this gap in regards to one of the main impacts of RecSys: personal autonomy. We first describe how technology can affect human values and a suitable methodology to identify these effects and mitigate potential harms: Value Sensitive Design (VSD). We use VSD to carry out a conceptual investigation of personal autonomy in the context of a generic RecSys and draw on a nuanced account of procedural autonomy to focus on two components: competence and authenticity. We provide the results of our inquiry as a value hierarchy and apply it to the design of a speculative RecSys as an example. (shrink)
No agreement exists among ethical theories on what cancount as a right moral motivation. This hampers us from knowingwhether an intervention in motivation biology can be considered positivefor human morality. To overcome this difficulty, this paper identifiesminimal requirements for moral enhancement that could be accepted bythe major moral theories. Subsequently four possible scenarios are presentedwhere the most promising neural interventions on moral motivationare implemented, by means of drugs, electromagnetic stimulation ofbrain, or biotechnological brain implants. The ultimate goal of this paperis (...) to evaluate the results of each one of these interventions according totheir capacity to fulfill the identified requirements. (shrink)
The article analyzes two basic matters in the recent development of the zooethics. First, whether traditional reasons for the coincidence between the limits of moral community and the limits of human species are valid. Second, the question of what kind of obligations we would have with animals in..
The new biotechnology raises expectations for modifying human behaviour through its use. This article focuses on the ethical analysis of the not so remote possibility of rehabilitating criminals by means of neurotechnological techniques. The analysis is carried out from a synthetic position of, on the one hand, the consequentialist conception of what is right and, on the other hand, the emphasis on individual liberties. As a result, firstly, the ethical appropriateness of adopting a general predisposition for allowing the neurorehabilitation of (...) prisoners only if it is safe and if they give their consent will be defended. But, at the same time, reasons will be given for requiring, in certain circumstances, the exceptional use of neurotechnology to rehabilitate severely psychopathic prisoners, even against their will, from the same ethical perspective. (shrink)
El artículo pretende contribuir a la discusión actual en torno al «caso Heidegger». En concreto, se intentarán mostrar tres gestos políticos correspondientes a tres momentos distintos de la evolución de su pensamiento: el neokantismo, la fenomenología hermenéutica y la ontohistoria. Se planteará hasta qué punto son distintos estos gestos, qué tienen en común y, sobre todo, qué lugar político se le concede a la filosofía en ellos. This paper aims to contribute to the current discussion around the «case Heidegger». It (...) shows three political gestures corresponding to three different moments in the evolution of his thought: neo-kantianism, hermeneutic phenomenology and history of Being. We will consider if this gestures are actually different, what do they have in common, and, especially, which political place is granted to philosophy in them. (shrink)
Utilitarianism has been able to respond to many of the objections raised against it by undertaking a major revision of its theory. Basically, this consisted of recognising that its early normative propositions were only viable for agents very different from flesh-and-blood humans. They then deduced that, given human limitations, it was most useful for everyone if moral agents did not behave as utilitarians and habitually followed certain rules. Important recent advances in neurotechnology suggest that some of these human limitations can (...) be overcome. In this article, after presenting some possible neuro-enhancements, we seek to answer the questions, first, of whether they should be accepted by a utilitarian ethic and, second, if accepted, to what extent they would invalidate the revision that allowed them to escape the objections. (shrink)
Despite the strong criticisms to ethical utilitarianism, this theory has not succumbed and remains one of the most notorious. The main criticisms address to the consequentialist conception of right that underlies the theory. However,it has been such a conception of right that, at the same time, saved utilitarianism. The article set out the features and changes that, according to the author, are the causes to explain the subsistence of utilitarianism.
RESUMEN: El artículo expone el programa filosófico de Heidegger en su cursoProblemas fundamentales de la fenomenología de 1919/20 y destaca su concepto de concreción. Por esa vía se explicita cuál es para Heidegger el asunto y la tarea de la filosofía. Finalmente, se lleva a cabo una crítica de sus pretensiones tanto de concreción como de formalidad, mostrando que ambas están lastradas por varios prejuicios. Para finalizar, se ponen de relieve, también de forma crítica, algunas consecuencias fenomenológicas y políticas de (...) esta particular idea de filosofía. ABSTRACT: In this paper I descibe Heidegger's philosophical program in his lecture course of 1919/20, Basic problems of Phenomenology, emphasizing his concept of concretion. I try to make explicit how Heidegger understood the subject and the task of philosophy in those years. Next, I critically review his claims about concretion and formality in his philosophy, showing that they are burdened by various prejudices. Finally, I underscore some phenomenological and political consequences of this idea of philosophy. (shrink)
In war a soldier behaving properly should take into account a universal requirement not to kill, to be applied strictly in dealing with civilians, but at the same time to support the exception of taking the life of enemy combatants as an act of selfdefense. This is the usual way to distinguish morally the proper treatment to soldiers and civilians. In this article the author criticizes it and outlines a different way to understand and justify the moral distinction mentioned.
Medical stem cell research is currently the cause of much moral controversy. Those who would confer the same moral status to embryos as we do to humans consider that harvesting such embryonic cells entails sacrificing embryos. In this paper, the author analyses critically the arguments given for such a perspective. Finally, a theory of moral status is outlined that coherently and plausibly supports the use of embryonic stem cells in therapeutic research.
El presente trabajo pretende ser un aporte a la discusión actual sobre las implicaciones políticas de la filosofía de Heidegger. A tal efecto, se remonta a la filosofía del joven Heidegger y presenta los dos grandes modelos de análisis fenomenológico que éste pone en marcha en sus primeros cursos de Friburgo. Gracias a ello se vuelve posible hacer explícitas sus convicciones acerca del objeto y el sentido de la filosofía, así como sobre la relación de ésta con lo que el (...) mismo Heidegger considera lo originariamente histórico. Por este camino se hacen visibles ciertos gestos políticos de signo jerárquico y elitista operando ya desde el inicio de su pensamiento. (shrink)