Conference: Moral Enhancement

7th-8th of July, 2016, University of Exeter.

Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference 2016.

Registration is now open for the annual Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference, taking place this year at the University of Exeter with the topic of moral enhancement.

The idea that it might be possible to morally enhance people by manipulating their genome or the biochemistry of their brains is being increasingly discussed today. However, more discussion is needed to assess the coherence, viability, and desirability of the project, and for that to be possible the discussion must include those who are not normally directly involved in the enhancement debate. For this reason this conference brings together moral philosophers, philosophers of biology, philosophers of technology, and last but not least neuropsychologists whose empirical work is relevant to the question at hand.

To that end we will ask: can morality be adequately understood as a biological disposition? Can our emotional dispositions be changed in such a way that we behave better in all possible situations? For instance, making people generally more cooperative or more trusting seems to be an improvement in certain situations, while in others it might be exactly the opposite. So where does moral judgement come in, a critical assessment of a particular situation in all its complexity? What about duties and rights? What about human freedom and agency? And can it ever be desirable to render people incapable of doing wrong (which seems to be the final goal)?

Speakers include: John Danaher (Galway), John Dupré (Exeter), Brian Earp (Oxford, Hastings Center), Walter Glannon (Calgary), Michael Hauskeller (Exeter), Teodora Manea (Exeter), Inmaculada de Melo-Martin (Cornell), Nigel Pleasants (Exeter), Mark Rowlands (Miami), Elizabeth Shaw (Aberdeen), Edward Skidelsky (Exeter), Sylvia Terbeck (Plymouth).

Places for delegates are available. For registration and more information please visit: For any further queries please email Lewis Coyne at


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