Moral Enhancement Should Target Self-Interest and Cognitive Capacity

Moral Enhancement Should Target Self-Interest and Cognitive Capacity Current suggestions for capacities that should be targeted for moral enhancement has centered on traits like empathy, fairness or aggression. The literature, however, lacks a proper model for understanding the interplay and complexity of moral capacities, which limits the practicability of proposed interventions. In this paper, I integrate some existing knowledge on the nature of human moral behavior and present a formal model of prosocial motivation. The model provides two important results regarding the most friction-free route to moral enhancement. First, we should consider decreasing self-interested motivation rather than increasing prosociality directly. Second, this should be complemented with cognitive enhancement. These suggestions are tested against existing and emerging evidence on cognitive capacity, mindfulness meditation and the effects of psychedelic drugs and are found to have sufficient grounding for further theoretical and empirical exploration. Furthermore, moral effects of the latter two are hypothesized to result from a diminished sense of self with subsequent reductions in self-interest. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Neuroethics Springer Journals

Moral Enhancement Should Target Self-Interest and Cognitive Capacity

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s)
Subject
Philosophy; Ethics; Neurology; Neurobiology; Neurosurgery; Neuropsychology; Neuroradiology
ISSN
1874-5490
eISSN
1874-5504
D.O.I.
10.1007/s12152-017-9331-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Current suggestions for capacities that should be targeted for moral enhancement has centered on traits like empathy, fairness or aggression. The literature, however, lacks a proper model for understanding the interplay and complexity of moral capacities, which limits the practicability of proposed interventions. In this paper, I integrate some existing knowledge on the nature of human moral behavior and present a formal model of prosocial motivation. The model provides two important results regarding the most friction-free route to moral enhancement. First, we should consider decreasing self-interested motivation rather than increasing prosociality directly. Second, this should be complemented with cognitive enhancement. These suggestions are tested against existing and emerging evidence on cognitive capacity, mindfulness meditation and the effects of psychedelic drugs and are found to have sufficient grounding for further theoretical and empirical exploration. Furthermore, moral effects of the latter two are hypothesized to result from a diminished sense of self with subsequent reductions in self-interest.

Journal

NeuroethicsSpringer Journals

Published: Apr 26, 2017

References

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