Egalitarianism and Moral Bioenhancement

American Journal of Bioethics 14 (4):20-28 (2014)
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Abstract
A number of philosophers working in applied ethics and bioethics are now earnestly debating the ethics of what they term “moral bioenhancement.” I argue that the society-wide program of biological manipulations required to achieve the purported goals of moral bioenhancement would necessarily implicate the state in a controversial moral perfectionism. Moreover, the prospect of being able to reliably identify some people as, by biological constitution, significantly and consistently more moral than others would seem to pose a profound challenge to egalitarian social and political ideals. Even if moral bioenhancement should ultimately prove to be impossible, there is a chance that a bogus science of bioenhancement would lead to arbitrary inequalities in access to political power or facilitate the unjust rule of authoritarians; in the meantime, the debate about the ethics of moral bioenhancement risks reinvigorating dangerous ideas about the extent of natural inequality in the possession of the moral faculties
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