Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New Paper - An Evaluative Conservative Case for Biomedical Enhancement

I have another academic paper coming out. This one tries to argue that there is a strong conservative case for favouring biomedical forms of enhancement. I don't really endorse the conservative moral framework outlined in the paper. My goal is simply to show how that outlook can be used to defend biomedical enhancement.

You might think it is odd for me to argue in this way - to defend a position using a set of moral principles that I don't accept - but I think this kind of faux sincere argumentation is valuable for two reasons. First, it shows how many different moral perspectives converge on the same conclusion -- this can be useful for both political and pragmatic reasons and can help to achieve a wide reflective equilibrium in ethical analysis. Second, and more selfishly, I think it helps you to develop your intellectual muscle. You are forced to

The paper will be published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. The official version will be out soon. Full details are below:

Title: An Evaluative Conservative Case for Biomedical Enhancement
Journal: Journal of Medical Ethics
Links: PhilPapers; Academia; Official
Abstract:  It is widely believed that a conservative moral outlook is opposed to biomedical forms of human enhancement. In this paper, I argue that this widespread belief is incorrect. Using Cohen’s evaluative conservatism as my starting point, I argue that there are strong conservative reasons to prioritise the development of biomedical enhancements. In particular, I suggest that biomedical enhancement may be essential if we are to maintain our current evaluative equilibrium (i.e. the set of values that undergird and permeate our current political, economic, and personal lives) against the threats to that equilibrium posed by external, non-biomedical forms of enhancement. I defend this view against modest conservatives who insist that biomedical enhancements pose a greater risk to our current evaluative equilibrium, and against those who see no principled distinction between the forms of human enhancement.

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