Date: 16 March 2015
Main speaker: Julian Savulescu, Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics
A seminar on the use of medicine to improve moral behaviour and solve the greatest problems of the 21st century.
The greatest problems of the 21st century - climate change, environmental degradation, terrorism, poverty, global inequality, mass migration, depletion of resources, infectious diseases, abuse and neglect of children – are predominantly the result of human choice and behaviour. The greatest problems humanity now faces are not the result of external threat, but are the result of human choice.
Our evolved dispositions and moral norms expose humanity to unprecedented threats in the modern world of advanced technology and global community. Liberal democracy increases the threat our limited moral dispositions pose to our survival and flourishing. With Ingmar Persson, I have argued that we should not rest content with our current strategies for addressing these problems, and that we should look to not only policies tailored to our moral limitations, but to altering the biological dispositions which contribute to these limitations.
I will explore the possibility of using medicine to improve moral behaviour: moral bioenhancement. This is already employed in the treatment of impulsive violence and personality disorders. A growing trend is the redefinition of normal human variation as psychiatric disorder to enable the employment of medical therapies to improve behaviour for society's sake. I will evaluate this redefinition of normality and suggest alternative ways forward.
A common objection to moral bioenhancement is that it would impact on our freedom. I will examine that objection and the circumstances in which it would promote or undermine freedom.
Moderator: Gustaf Arrhenius, Director of the Institute for Futures Studies.
Comments: Göran Rosenberg and Åsa Wikforss.
The seminar will take place at Spårvagnshallarna, Birger Jarlsgatan 57A in Stockholm.
The seminar is free of charge, but please register in order to make sure there's a seat for you.
Watch Julian speak about moral enhancement at a Tedx-event in Barcelona.