Document Type



​Public Policy and Law

Publication Date



Recently, Fenton (2009) has argued that Buddhist ethics can accommodate the use of attention-enhancing drugs, and Walker (2006 , 2009) has argued that future neurotechnologies may be used to enhance happiness and virtue. This paper uses a Western Buddhist perspective, drawing on many Buddhist traditions, to explore how emerging neurotechnologies may be used to suppress vices and enhance happiness and virtue. A Buddhist approach to the authenticity of technologically-mediated spiritual progress is discussed. The potential utility and dangers of mood manipulation for a Buddhist understanding of liberation are outlined. Then the ten paramitas of Theravadan Buddhism are explored to frame an exploration of the potential genes, neurochemicals and brain structures that could be targeted as part of a program of neurotechnological moral enhancement.


Author's pre-print. The published version of this article is available at

Hughes, James. “Using Neurotechnologies to Develop Virtues: A Buddhist Approach to Cognitive Enhancement.” Accountability in Research: Policies & Quality Assurance 20, no. 1 (2013): 27-41.