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The Ethics of Human EnhancementUnderstanding the Debate$
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Steve Clarke, Julian Savulescu, Tony Coady, Alberto Giubilini, and Sagar Sanyal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198754855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.001.0001

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The Evolution of Moral Enhancement

The Evolution of Moral Enhancement

(p.239) 17 The Evolution of Moral Enhancement
The Ethics of Human Enhancement

Russell Powell

Allen Buchanan

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the prevailing evolutionary explanation of morality, and shows that both ‘evoconservative’ and ‘evoliberal’ authors have relied upon this account in their discussions of moral progress. It goes on to explain why the standard evolutionary account is unable to accommodate cases of sweeping, progressive moral change—cases that call into question the conception of human moral nature that evoliberals and evoconservatives presuppose. It then sketches an alternative evolutionary model of moral psychological development that can make sense of these progressive shifts—one that takes institutions seriously whilst giving moral psychology its due—and then brings this model to bear on questions concerning the efficacy and plausibility of BME. The chapter concludes that cultural innovations that make use of our understanding of the evolutionary development of human morality stand the best chance of meeting our ethical goals.

Keywords:   cultural innovation, development, evolution, conservative, liberal, moral enhancement, moral psychology

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