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Putting a price on empathy: against incentivising moral enhancement
  1. Sarah Carter
  1. Correspondence to Sarah Carter, University of Manchester, School of Law, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; sarah.carter-4{at}


Concerns that people would be disinclined to voluntarily undergo moral enhancement have led to suggestions that an incentivised programme should be introduced to encourage participation. This paper argues that, while such measures do not necessarily result in coercion or undue inducement (issues with which one may typically associate the use of incentives in general), the use of incentives for this purpose may present a taboo trade-off. This is due to empirical research suggesting that those characteristics likely to be affected by moral enhancement are often perceived as fundamental to the self; therefore, any attempt to put a price on such traits would likely be deemed morally unacceptable by those who hold this view. A better approach to address the possible lack of participation may be to instead invest in alternative marketing strategies and remove incentives altogether.

  • Enhancement
  • Neuroethics
  • Behaviour Modification
  • Public Policy
  • Moral Psychology

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