The Cognitive Basis of Commonsense Morality

Journal of Cognitive Enhancement 2 (4):369-376 (2018)
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The established two tracks of neuroenhancement, moral and cognitive enhancements, rest on the characterization of commonsense morality as a set of static psychological dispositions. In this paper, I challenge this way of describing commonsense morality. I draw a parallel between commonsense psychology and commonsense morality, and I propose that the right way to characterize commonsense morality is as an empirically evaluable theory, with a structure similar to a scientific theory. I argue further that psychological dispositions to react in certain ways require the tacit endorsement of a commonsense moral theory. By adopting this view, I argue that the way to change our psychological dispositions is by changing the background theory that produces them. I conclude that when commonsense morality is construed as an empirically evaluable theory, the cleft between the abilities that support scientific progress and the abilities that promote moral progress closes and it becomes evident that the way to promote both types of advancements is through cognitive enhancement.

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Nada Gligorov
Albany Medical College


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