From cognitive to moral enhancement: A possible reconciliation of religious outlooks and the biotechnological creation of a better human

Vojin Rakic

Abstract


Religious outlooks on the use of new bio-technologies for the purpose of cognitive enhancement of humans are generally not favorably disposed to interventions in what is regarded as ordained by God or shaped by nature. I will present a number of perspectives that are derived from these outlooks and contrast them to the liberal standpoint. Subsequently, I will discuss two views that are compatible with religious outlooks, but that do not exclude cognitive enhancement altogether. They only pose significant moral limitations to it. These two views are: 1) cognitive enhancement of the human ought to be preceded by moral enhancement; 2) cognitive enhancement is morally permissible only as a means to moral enhancement. I will argue in favor of the superiority of the second view and assert that this view might be a sound platform for defining the relationship between religion(s) and bioethics in the decades and centuries to come.


Keywords


religious outlooks, moral enhancement, cognitive enhancement, new bio-technologies

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