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for A Response to Persson & Savulescu on Cognitive Enhancement

2/2/2016 c1 The Unnamed Philosopher
I've never read the paper, but I have heard of Julian Savulescu. I'll give the paper a more in-depth look later, but it seems to be yet another one of his attempts to justify obligatory pharmaceutical control (in addition to advocating elsewhere that we should genetically "screen" embryos for ethical criteria, or else discarding those that don't measure up). In short, human nature is too messy. So we need to "fix" it through technological management and manipulation for the sake of various social and economic benefits - compulsorily if necessary. One almost admires the frank honesty of this sort of bald-faced utilitarianism.

And those who will bureaucratically administer this compulsory pharmaceutical and technological control are people like Julian Savulescu, of course. All of which makes me *more* concerned about the catastrophic evil effects of imposing Brave New World-style "moral enhancements" as opposed to potential cognitive enhancements. The lack of awareness of the moral distinction between permitting one evil (some genes being merely *associated* with certain bad behaviors) vs. committing an even greater evil (obligatory genetic and pharmaceutical control on a massive scale) is almost breathtaking.

But such is to be expected from those like Savulescu, who view human beings not as persons with intrinsic dignity, but as raw material to be technologically managed and manipulated - against their will if that's what it takes to balance the national budget. Which makes Savulescu's use of the phrase "moral progress" (versus scientific progress) somewhat question-begging. Whether his proposals themselves represent "moral progress" is part of what's at issue.

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