Friday, April 24, 2009

Philosopher David Pearce guest blogging next week

British philosopher David Pearce will be guest blogging on Sentient Developments next week.

Pearce is a seminal figure in the transhumanist movement, most notably for his work as an organizer (he co-founded the World Transhumanist Association (now Humanity+) with Nick Bostrom in 1998) and as a thought leader (particularly for his work as a negative utilitarian ethicist and abolitionist).

Pearce's contributions will fit in nicely here at SentDev. Like myself, he believes and promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. He has a book-length internet manifesto called The Hedonistic Imperative in which he details how he believes the abolition of suffering can be accomplished through "paradise engineering".

A transhumanist and a vegan, Pearce also calls for the elimination of cruelty to animals. Among his websites, there are many devoted to the plight of animals. [Love it when people practice what they preach]

In The Hedonistic Imperative, Pearce outlines how technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience in human life and produce a posthuman civilization.

Pearce is also currently the director of BLTC Research, a non-profit research organization that seeks to elucidate the underlying physiological mechanisms of physical and mental suffering, with the intention of eradicating it in all its forms. The goals of research in Better Living Through Chemistry include determining the final common neurological pathway of both pleasure and pain in the brain. Once this process is better understood, it could be possible to more effectively design medicines and other treatments for various mental illnesses, as well as cure the painful symptoms of many diseases.

David will be blogging on Sentient Developments from April 27 through to May 1. Note: David mentioned that he'd like to address topic requests from Sentient Developments readers. Feel free to post article suggestions and questions for David in this post's comments section.

[Hmmm, just realized that my last three guest bloggers have all been named David (Eagleman and Brin being the previous two). Weird]

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