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PhD Defence Karolina Kudlek | The ethical analysis of moral bioenhancement - Theoretical and normative perspectives

The ethical analysis of moral bioenhancement - Theoretical and normative perspectives

The PhD defence of Karolina Kudlek will take place (partly) online and can be followed by a live stream.

Karolina Kudlek is a PhD student in the research group Philosophy. Supervisor is prof.dr. P.A.E. Brey from the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) and co-supervisor is dr. M. Sušnik from the Institute of Philosophy Zagreb.

What if we could use biomedical science – not only to make ourselves stronger, smarter and more beautiful – but also to improve our moral character? The debate on moral bioenhancement (MBE) – a set of emerging technologies aimed at improving human morality – has been mainly focused on the potential dangers and benefits of these interventions. However, there is little to no consensus as to what constitutes MBE and how to define it; whether we urgently need it; and, whether we should allow it even if it were to become feasible and safe. This dissertation attempts to shed some new light on the debate by addressing several theoretical and normative challenges closely related to MBE’s moral permissibility. It does so by placing the bioethical debate on MBE into an explicit dialogue with ethical theory. This dialogue between ethical theory and bioethics is meant to give us insight into the moral status of MBE technologies, provide methodological guidelines, and help us clear the path for future research. On the whole, the thesis is a proof of concept that the theoretical and normative analyses are indispensable tools for developing the MBE debate further and helping us understand what is and is not morally permissible. It suggests that, on net, the permissibility of MBE will depend on various contingent factors but we currently do not have decisive reasons to think it is utterly impermissible under realistic scenarios.