[ExI] ExtroBritannia: Towards the Abolition of Suffering. Reflections on the Abolitionist Project - by David Pearce

estropico estropico at gmail.com
Sat Sep 18 08:33:03 UTC 2010

Towards the Abolition of Suffering. Reflections on the Abolitionist
Project - by David Pearce

2pm-4pm, Sat 16th Oct, 2010

Room 417, 4th floor, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX.

About the talk:

The Transhumanist Declaration (1998, 2009) advocates "the well-being
of all sentience, including humans, non-human animals, and any future
artificial intellects, modified life forms, or other intelligences to
which technological and scientific advance may give rise." Yet is "the
well-being of all sentience" serious science - or just utopian
dreaming? What does such a commitment entail? On what kind of
realistic timeframe might we command enough computational power to
police an entire ecosystem?

In this talk, the speaker wants to review recent progress in
understanding the neurobiology of pleasure, pain and our core
emotions. Can mastery of our reward circuity ever deliver socially
responsible, intelligent bliss rather than crude wireheading? He also
wants to examine and respond to criticisms of the abolitionist project
that have been levelled over the past decade - and set out the biggest
challenges, as he sees them, to the prospect of a totally cruelty-free

Links to the Transhumanist Declaration:

2009: http://humanityplus.org/learn/transhumanist-declaration/

1998: Contained in http://www.changesurfer.com/Acad/TranshumPolitics.htm

About the speaker:

David Pearce is an independent researcher and vegan animal activist
based in Brighton UK.

In 1995, he wrote an online manifesto, The Hedonistic Imperative,
advocating the use of biotechnology to abolish suffering throughout
the living world. David predicts that our descendants will be animated
by gradients of cerebral bliss orders of magnitude richer than
anything accessible today.

David has also written on the philosophy of mind and perception;
utilitarian ethics; psychopharmacology; life extension; cognitive
enhancement technologies; mood enrichment; genetic recalibration of
the hedonic treadmill; ecosystem redesign; reprogramming predators;
and – more speculatively – on a posthuman future based on "paradise

In 1998, David and Nick Bostrom set up the World Transhumanist
Association (now rebranded as Humanity +). Transhumanists promote the
responsible use of advanced technology to overcome our biological

For more details, see David Pearce's entry on Wikipedia

About the venue:

Room 417 is on the fourth floor in the main Birkbeck College building,
in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington
Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge
St tube stations.

About the meeting:

There's no charge to attend, and everyone is welcome. There will be
plenty of opportunity to ask questions and to make comments.

Discussion will continue after the event, in a nearby pub, for those
who are able to stay.

Why not join some of the Extrobritannia regulars for a drink and/or
light lunch beforehand, any time after 12.30pm, in The Marlborough
Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ. To find us, look out for a
table where there's a copy of a book displayed.


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