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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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Reason, Emotion, and Morality

Reason, Emotion, and Morality

Some Cautions for the Enhancement Project

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 Reason, Emotion, and Morality
Source:
The Ethics of Human Enhancement
Author(s):

C. A. J. Coady

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198754855.003.0002

In the debate about the pros and cons of human enhancement, proponents of enhancement (so-called ‘liberals’) often accuse their opponents (so-called ‘conservatives’) of substituting emotion for reason. In this they are relying on an age-old dichotomy between reason and emotion that has a long popular and philosophical history. Plato’s picture of reason as the charioteer controlling the turbulent horses of the passions has had a significant influence (though its popular version ignores Plato’s reservations.) Cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists have recently joined the fray and sought to examine the role of reason on the one hand and emotion on the other in moral outlooks and decisions. This chapter examines the contrast between reason and emotion and, while noting many ambiguities in both concepts, will argue that much of the separation of reason and emotion that underpins the debate is misguided.

Keywords:   liberal, conservative, enhancement, emotion, reason, neuroscience, Joshua Greene

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