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Could Moral Enhancement Interventions be Medically Indicated?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Health Care Analysis
Issue number4
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)338-353
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date24/02/16
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper explores the position that moral enhancement interventions
could be medically indicated (and so considered therapeutic) in cases where they
provide a remedy for a lack of empathy, when such a deficit is considered pathological.
In order to argue this claim, the question as to whether a deficit of empathy
could be considered to be pathological is examined, taking into account the difficulty of defining illness and disorder generally, and especially in the case of mental health. Following this, Psychopathy and a fictionalised mental disorder (Moral Deficiency Disorder) are explored with a view to consider moral enhancement techniques as possible treatments for both conditions. At this juncture, having asserted and defended the position that moral enhancement interventions could, under certain circumstances, be considered medically indicated, this paper then goes on to briefly explore some of the consequences of this assertion. First, it is acknowledged that this broadening of diagnostic criteria in light of new interventions could fall foul of claims of medicalisation. It is then briefly noted that considering moral enhancement technologies to be akin to therapies in certain circumstances could lead to ethical and legal consequences and questions, such as those regarding regulation, access, and even consent.