LIBERAL PERSPECTIVES ON MORAL ENHANCEMENT

Norbert Paulo
unpublished
Baccarini's excellent treatment of the political and societal implications of various uses of enhancement technologies is grounded in the Rawlsian tradition. This short discussion focusses on one kind of enhancement-moral enhancement-and examines three different versions of liberal views with regards to moral enhancement, perfectionist liberalism, political liberalism, and liberal equality. It is argued that perfectionist versions of liberalism would consider society-wide moral enhancements a
more » ... gitimate policy option as long as they are so modest that they do not impede autonomy or pluralism. Political liberalism, in contrast, cannot support society-wide enhancements because it is grounded on respect for persons-persons, that is, which might not share a single comprehensive doctrine. Political liberalism cannot generally oppose individual moral enhancements, whereas perfectionist liberalism could support state-driven enhancements while suppressing severe forms of individual enhancements. The third view, Dworkin's liberal equality, is also opposed to state-driven moral enhancements. While it is perfectly fine to try to convince people to change their ethical views, ethical choices must not be restricted politically. The discussion of three versions of liberalism shows that there is no easy answer to the political virtues or vices moral enhancement technologies.
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