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Moral enhancement, moral status, complexity and virtue theory

Grant number: 19/22383-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal researcher:Osvaldo Frota Pessoa Junior
Grantee:João Lourenço de Araujo Fabiano
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The central issue I wish to address with my research is the tension between the high desirability and extreme risks of using technology to improve fundamental human traits - that is, of human enhancement. I will address four separate specific issues related to risks from moral enhancement (the enhancement of moral dispositions) in four publications. The first publication I will argue that an examination of individual interests at play in the case of the enhancement of moral status leads to the conclusion that the enhancement of moral status can be catastrophic when overlooking personal and human identity. In a second publication, I will argue that argue that (1) a proper account of human moral traits in a descriptive sense faces major epistemic difficulties, and (2) substantial modification to moral traits is relatively prone to unexpected consequences. Next, a third publication will investigate how to avoid the many risks arising from moral enhancement. I will outline some straightforward positive prescriptions to avoid them. Moral enhancement's extreme risks require the use of safety framework for the project of improving moral traits. I will also work on writing a follow-up publication to my article co-authored with Dr Anders Sandberg that built social simulations that attempt to model the spread of moral enhancement across society once they become available. The next publication will look into group-level effects of moral enhancers by refining our computer model to also include group-membership and reputation. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FABIANO, JOAO. Persons vs. supra-persons and the undermining of individual interests. JOURNAL OF VALUE INQUIRY, OCT 2021. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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