Enhancing Virtue without Becoming Ned Flanders?

Jon Rueda, researcher at FiloLab, has recently published an Open Peer Commentary entitled ‘Enhancing Virtue without Becoming Ned Flanders?’, in the journal AJOB Neuroscience. This comment criticises the target articleVirtue Theory for Moral Enhancement” by Joao Fabiano. According to the author, focusing moral enhancement on moral traits such as altruism can lead to long-term problematic consequences. In particular, individuals whose altruistic capacities have been enhanced could be more easily exploited by non-cooperative individuals. To overcome this problem, Fabiano stated that a balanced moral enhancement would be necessary to enable individuals to have the capabilities to carry out punitive behaviours that penalise free-riders’ behaviour. However, Jon Rueda argues that seeing morally enhanced people as easy to deceive is problematic and that free-riders’ behaviour should be limited by institutional design rather than depending on their fellow citizens’ moral traits.

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