Monday, November 12, 2007

Going toward freedom from pain and suffering

Philosopher David Pearce is advocating a project for the abolition of suffering through scientific techniques. Here is the introduction of a text adapted from invited talks that he gave at the Future of Humanity Institute (Oxford University) and the Charity International Happiness Conference (2007):

"This talk is about suffering and how to get rid of it. I predict we will abolish suffering throughout the living world. Our descendants will be animated by gradients of genetically preprogrammed well-being that are orders of magnitude richer than today's peak experiences. First, I'm going to outline why it's technically feasible to abolish the biological substrates of any kind of unpleasant experience - psychological pain as well as physical pain. Secondly, I'm going to argue for the overriding moral urgency of the abolitionist project, whether or not one is any kind of ethical utilitarian. Thirdly, I'm going to argue why a revolution in biotechnology means it's going to happen, albeit not nearly as fast as it should."