2012 Books

Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement

Savulescu, J. and Persson, I., (2012), 'Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement', (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Unfit for the Future argues that the future of our species depends on our urgently finding ways to bring about radical enhancement of the moral aspects of our own human nature. We have rewritten our own moral agenda by the drastic changes we have made to the conditions of life on earth. Advances in technology enable us to exercise an influence that extends all over the world and far into the future. But our moral psychology lags behind and leaves us ill equipped to deal with the challenges we now face. We need to change human moral motivation so that we pay more heed not merely to the global community, but to the interests of future generations. It is unlikely that traditional methods such as moral education or social reform alone can bring this about swiftly enough to avert looming disaster, which would undermine the conditions for worthwhile life on earth forever. Persson and Savulescu maintain that it is likely that we need to explore the use of new technologies of biomedicine to change the bases of human moral motivation. They argue that there are in principle no philosophical or moral objections to such moral bioenhancement. Unfit for the Future? challenges us to rethink our attitudes to our own human nature, before it is too late.

  •     Bold and original contribution to a controversial dilemma
  •     At the cutting-edge of modern ethics
  •     Lively and compelling discussion by two experts in the field
  •     Challenges our fundamental assumptions about human nature

"For anyone interested in the future of humankind, this book can only be recommended." (Tim Meijers, Ethical Perspectives)

"Persson and Savulescu have explored with rigor and insight a crucial, but disquieting question: Are the moral capacities of human beings sufficient to deal with the threats to their survival created by modern scientific technology? There are many criticisms of biomedical moral enhancement in the scholarly literature media, but Persson and Savulescu argue forcefully that they are unfounded and that such enhancement might be necessary for the survival of human civilization. One can only hope that this fine book will be widely read." (Allen Buchanan, Duke University)

"I welcome this book's call for research into the full array of ways of making us morally better. The authors make a powerful case for saying that our current moral endowment is not adequate for meeting the problems that the world faces." (Peter Singer, Princeton University)

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