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Neurofeedback-Based Moral Enhancement and the Notion of Morality

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Neurofeedback-Based Moral Enhancement and the Notion of Morality
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   Neurofeedback-Based Moral Enhancement and the Notion of Morality Koji Tachibana ANNALS of the University of Bucharest Philosophy Series Vol. LXVI, no. 2, 2017  pp. 25  –  41.    NEUROFEE%BAC89BASE% #ORAL ENHANCE#ENT AN% THE NOTION OF #ORALITY <   8O)I TACHIBANA 2    Abstract Some s/e*tics estion the er1 *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement .1 arging that i& we lac/ a widel1 acce*ta.le notion o& moralit1, we will not .e a.le to acce*t the se o& a .iotechnological technie as a tool &or moral .ioenhancement! I will e;amine this s/e*ticism and arge that the assessment o& moral .ioenhancement does not reire sch a notion o& moralit1! In *articlar, I will demonstrate that this s/e*ticism can .e netraliLed in the case o& recent nero&eed.ac/ technies! This goal will .e accom*lished in &or ste*s! First, I will draw an otline o& the s/e*ticism against the *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement and *oint ot that a long0lasting dis*te among moral *hiloso*hers norishes this s/e*ticism! Second, I will sre1 recent nero&eed.ac/ technies and otline their three &eatres: the ariet1 o& the target hman &aclties, sch as emotion, cognition, and .ehaior the &le;i.ilit1 or *ersonaliLa.ilit1 o& the target .rain state and the nonclinical a**lication o& nero&eed.ac/ technies! Third, I will arge that, .1 irte o& these three nie &eatres, nero&eed.ac/ technies can .e a tool &or moral .ioenhancement withot ado*ting an1 s*eci&ic notion o& moralit1! Forth, I will e;amine the adantages and threats that nero&eed.ac/0.ased moral enhancement ma1 hae! Finall1, I will conclde that nero&eed.ac/0.ased moral enhancement can .ecome a new and *romising tool &or moral .ioenhancement and reires &rther ethical inestigations on its nie &eatres! Keywords:  nero&eed.ac/, real0time &M(I, decoded nero&eed.ac/, moral  .ioenhancement, notion o& moralit1! <  I wold li/e to than/ (oger Cris* &or his man1 se&l comments on an earlier ersion o& the *a*er! I wold also than/ to the anon1mos reiewers and the editors &or their hel*&l comments and s**orts that contri.ted to im*roing the &inal ersion o& the *a*er! This std1 is s**orted .1 the #a*an Societ1 &or the 7romotion o& Science ?#S7S@ Oerseas (esearch Fellowshi*s and the #S7S AEN'I ?=rant Nm.er <9<""<@! 2  Faclt1 o& %etters, mamoto $niersit1, #a*an! Email:  /oHi0tJ/mamoto0!ac!H* K!  O#I TAC'I-ANA 28 1* S:ep/i+is! ."o/ #or.l Bioe,h.,+e!e,/ There is a gro* o& criticisms regarding the er1 *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement, which can .e smmariLed and la.eled as the s/e*ticism .ased on the ageness o& the notion o& moralit1! For e;am*le, #ohn Shoo/ ?2D<2, 3@ introdces its .asic &orm as &ollows: Rthe a.sence o& a consenss *on the mechanisms o& moralit1 cold *reent an1 agreement that a *ro*osed moral enhancer cold reall1 .e enhancing moralit1, whateer else it ma1 .e doing, althogh Shoo/ does not commit himsel& to this criticism! A ariation can .e &ond in )orothee 'orst/^tter ?2D<8, <2"@, who, *ointing ot that adocates o& moral .ioenhancement do not *a1 attention to estions o& content, claims that Rleaing ot moral ales, howeer, renders one na.le to distingish .etween /ind *eo*le made /inder and racist *eo*le rendered more racist! These criticisms indicate that we will not .e a.le to admit the se o& a .iotechnological technie as a tool &or moral .ioenhancement i& we lac/ a widel1 acce*ta.le notion o& moralit1, namel1, what it is li/e to  .e.ecome moral! Frthermore, this criticism can also .e stated in a more *ower&l wa1 .1 com.ining it with another argment that we can hardl1 *roide a widel1 acce*ta.le notion o& moralit1 in the &irst *lace! Committing himsel& to this argment, (o.ert S*arrow ?2D<5, 22@ claims that Ri& we are going to start giing *eo*le drgs to ma/e them more moral, we had .etter /now what it is &or someone to .e more moral! -t then who are adocates o& moral enhancement to sa1 that the1 /now the answer to this estion This strengthened criticism is a sort o& s/e*ticism a.ot the er1 *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement: this s/e*ticism indicates that it will .e nonsense to claim that a *ro*osed  .iotechnological interention is a tool &or moral .ioenhancement i& no one can gie a widel1 acce*ta.le notion o& moralit1 in the &irst *lace! Those who are s/e*tical a.ot moral .ioenhancement hae a reason &or *resming that it is *racticall1 di&&iclt to &rame sch a notion o& moralit1! As the histor1 o& moral *hiloso*h1 testi&ies, the *ro.lem o& what it is li/e to .e moral has .een one o& the most long0lasting and nresoled dis*tes among *hiloso*hers! For e;am*le, it aries among the three maHor moral theories: antian deontolog1 characteriLes it as  NE$(OFEE)-AC0-ASE) MO(A% EN'ANCEMENT AN) T'E NOTION OF MO(A%IT4 29 the good will to o.e1 dties and e;cldes the ale o& the conseences o& actions ?ant <9@ tilitarianism descri.es it &rom the iew*oint o& the conseences o& actions and neglects the goodness or .adness o& the will that *rodces them ?-entham <9+@ and Aristotelian irte ethics highlights hman ethical character that is *rior to .oth the will and the conseences ?Aristotle <++@! Althogh these incommensra.le characteriLations are merel1 one e;am*le, histor1 demonstrates that no one has eer esta.lished a com*rehensie moral theor1 that integrates these and other moral theories &or hndreds G or thosands G o& 1ears .1 *roiding a widel1 acce*ta.le notion o& moralit1! This &act is certainl1 eidence that we shold ta/e seriosl1 the *ractical ?althogh not conce*tal@ di&&iclt1 o& &raming sch a notion o& moralit1! This /ind o& s/e*ticism a.ot moral .ioenhancement is, there&ore, not merel1 the claim that the a.sence o& a shared nderstanding o& sch a notion in  praesenti  ma/es it di&&iclt to adocate &or the e;istence o& moral  .ioenhancement .ased on a certain t1*e o& .iomedical technie! (ather, .eing &eled .1 a historical &act that no one has eer scceeded in &raming it, it claims that it is the a.sence ad posterum  that ma/es it di&&iclt to *ersasiel1 arge the *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement! A no.le *ath to e;amine the *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement withot a**ealing directl1 to the notion o& moralit1 can .e seen in a recent continos de.ate .etween Ingmar 7ersson and #lian Salesc ?2D<8@, and #ohn 'arris ?2D<8@ ?see also 'arris and Salesc R2D<3@! In res*onse to 'arrisBs estion, 6hat e;actl1 ma/es something a moral enhancement ?'arris 2D<8, 28+@, 7ersson and Salesc ta/e * arios to*ics concerning hman moralit1, sch as reasoning, &reedom, com*lsoriness, motiation, emotion, and the wea/ness o& the will, and e;amine whether a .iotechnological interention manages these moral to*ics! This *ath wold .e a right and no.le one to &ollow when considering whether the interention can .e entitled moral .ioenhancement .ecase these mlti0&aceted considerations will gradall1 reeal what sort o& .iotechnolog1 can .e a tool &or moral .ioenhancement! In contrast to that a**roach, this std1 aims at considering the *ossi.ilit1 o& moral .ioenhancement throgh a di&&erent *ath! It will demonstrate that, des*ite an1 s/e*ticism, the *ossi.ilit1 o& moral  O#I TAC'I-ANA 2 enhancement can .e assessed withot a**ealing to an1 widel1 acce*ta.le notion o& moralit1! 2* Fe./res o0 Re+e,/ Nero0ee3".+: Te+h,i;es A nero&eed.ac/ technie is a /ind o& .io&eed.ac/ technie that ena.les a s.Hect to reglate hisher emotion, cognition, andor .ehaior  .1 adHsting hisher own .rain states with the se o& a real0time re*resentation o& hisher .rain actiities! This technie has .een stdied since the deelo*ment o& the electroence*halogra*h ?EE=@ deice in the <+3Ds! Althogh EE=0.ased nero&eed.ac/ training is condcted &or the thera*1 o& mental disorders, sch as e*ile*s1 and atism s*ectrm disorder, this technie hardl1 .ecame mainstream in the disci*lines o& medicine and neroscience .ecase doctors and neroscientists eaded the EE=0.ased nero&eed.ac/ research, *artl1  .ecase its low s*atial resoltion le&t it na.le to &ll1 com*rehend the neral mechanism o& sch disorders ?(o..ins 2DD@ " ! In the <++Ds, the deelo*ment o& &nctional magnetic resonance imaging ?&M(I@ adanced the research on neral mechanisms with its high s*atial resoltion, .t was not se&l &or nero&eed.ac/ research .ecase o& its wea/ tem*oral resoltion ?ranging &rom a "G<8 second dela1@! Nero&eed.ac/0.ased clinical research ths has to wait &or new deices that meet .oth conditions, namel1, high tem*oral resoltion and high s*atial resoltion! (ecentl1, technological and engineering deelo*ments hae reslted in two /inds o& new tools that satis&1 these two conditions at once! The &irst tool is real0time &M(I ?rt&M(I@! As &or the e;am*les o& nero&eed.ac/ research sing rt&M(I, deCharms and colleages ?2DD3@ re*ort that *atients who had chronic *ain cold redce their *ain *erce*tion with rt&M(I0.ased nero&eed.ac/ training! On the .asis o& earlier literatre that the actiit1 o& the rostral anterior cinglate corte; ?rACC@ *la1s a crcial role in chronic *ain, the1 set rACC as the target "  MarL.ani and colleages ?2D<8@ gie a reiew on recent EE=0.ased nero&eed.ac/ research!
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