Redesigning human nature: Moral bioenhancement and the quest for the resolution of political conflicts

Marcelo de Araujo

Abstract


The thesis that political conflicts occur because human nature is fundamentally selfish is very old. This thesis is endorsed by thinkers such as Hobbes, Freud, and Morgenthau. Recently, this thesis has been resumed in the moral bioenhancement debate. The proponents of the moral bioenhancement of humankind defend two claims: (i) in the future, biotechnology may be used to modify human nature so as to make people more cooperative and less selfish; and (ii) the bioenhancement of dispositions such as cooperativeness, benevolence, and empathy would reduce the likelihood of violent political conflicts in the international arena. In this article, I argue that the first claim may be true, but biotechnology will not reduce the likelihood of violent political conflicts in the international arena. The moral bioenhancement of humankind would not prevent the occurrence of nuclear wars, bioterrorism, or cyber-attacks in the future.

Keywords: moral bioenhancement, human nature, realism, Hans Morgenthau, world state.


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