admin September 6, 2017

Current suggestions for capacities that should be targeted for moral enhancement has centered on traits like empathy, fairness or aggression. The literature, however, lacks a proper model for understanding the interplay and complexity of moral capacities, which limits the practicability of proposed interventions. In this paper, I integrate some existing knowledge on the nature of human moral behavior and present a formal model of prosocial motivation. The model provides two important results regarding the most friction-free route to moral enhancement. First, we should consider decreasing self-interested motivation rather than increasing prosociality directly. Second, this should be complemented with cognitive enhancement. These suggestions are tested against existing and emerging evidence on cognitive capacity, mindfulness meditation and the effects of psychedelic drugs and are found to have sufficient grounding for further theoretical and empirical exploration. Furthermore, moral effects of the latter two are hypothesized to result from a diminished sense of self with subsequent reductions in self-interest.


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