July 2, 2022

Alas, moral bioehancement won’t stop climate change

Several recent articles in leading journals have considered the ability of moral bioehancement to produce ‘environmentally conscious’ citizens and thus (indirectly) reduce carbon emissions. In a recent post on Practical Ethics, the blog’s administrator asserts that too few people would accept the offer of bioehancement and hence it would have a negligible effect on climate change.

Oxford ethicists have challenged the claim that moral bioehancement could prevent a climate catastrophe. Several recent articles in leading journals have considered the ability of moral bioehancement to produce ‘environmentally conscious’ citizens and thus (indirectly) reduce carbon emissions. In a recent post on Practical Ethics, Johanna Ahola-Launonen asserts that too few people would accept the offer of bioehancement and hence it would have a negligible effect on climate change.

The author challenges the fruitfulness of a narrow-minded bioehancement project:

“I doubt whether the best way to change someone’s behaviour and opinions would be to start the conversation by stating that ‘we think your biological basis for being able to think responsibly and morally is flawed’…

The post continues,

“More fruitful means are more likely to be found among thorough deliberations with a respecting attitude towards opponents (and by a respecting attitude I mean an attitude that does not entail the supposition of moral superiority), thoughtful outcomes from the scientific community, and acknowledging the need to find reasonable solutions to the challenges brought by responsible policies.”

The post is a counterbalance to the expanding literature advocating bioenhancement as a solution to major social and environmental problems. 

Moral bioenhancement won’t stop climate change – Oxford bioethicists
Xavier Symons
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Creative commons
bioethics discourse
climate change
moral bioenhancement