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If, somehow, you could give every animal on Earth boosted intelligence, cognitive function, etc, would it be unethical/selfish not to?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Swami Vishwananda, Frank Hubeny, Conifold, Jordan S, Mark Andrews May 4 '18 at 6:39

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Hello and welcome on Philosophy.SE! Your question is opinion-based. Please rephrase it in order to avoid closure. Here you can find more help on how to ask a question: philosophy.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask – lukuss May 2 '18 at 11:26
  • There are many considerations of this in science fiction en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uplift_(science_fiction) – CriglCragl May 2 '18 at 14:02
  • this is scientific speculation, and therefore opinion based. – Swami Vishwananda May 2 '18 at 15:04
  • Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Please visit our Help Center to see what questions we answer and how to ask. One-line posts are discouraged because it is hard to tell from them what people are looking for, in particular, on what basis we are supposed to judge ethics of your scenario. – Conifold May 2 '18 at 22:18
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If morality involves concern for the interests of others, including the protection and promotion of their interests, it might appear obvious that conferring higher cognitive functions on every animal (ourselves, too) would mean promoting their interests.

But it is not at all clear that this really would be the case. I mention just two points :

(1) Where inherent conflicts occur between rival species (predators and predated) higher cognitive function might well make the conflicts sophisticatedly more vicious.

(2) Unless our moral behaviour is improved in pari passu (in step) with higher cognitive function, we may just end up with more intelligent and subtle ways of inflicting greater harm on one another's interests.

You can't isolate one aspect of animals, their cognitive function, improve it, and without changing other aspects expect the result to be beneficial.