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London's Mansions

London's Mansions [PDF]

David Pearce is a British independent philosopher. 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. His book-length internet manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative outlines how technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience among human and nonhuman animals, replacing suffering with gradients of well-being, a project he refers to as "paradise engineering". A transhumanist and a vegan, Pearce believes that we (or future evolutions of humans) have a responsibility not only to avoid cruelty to animals within human society but also to redesign the global ecosystem so that animals do not suffer in the wild.

Pearce co-founded Humanity+, then known as the World Transhumanist Association, and is a prominent figure in the transhumanist movement, inspiring a strain of transhumanism based on paradise engineering and ending suffering.

Pearce is primarily known as the author of The Hedonistic Imperative, a 1995 book-length manifesto in which he theorized how to "eradicate suffering in all sentient life" through paradise engineering. In Pearce's view, suffering is not necessary for humans and only exists because humanity evolved through methods that emphasised survival, rather than happiness. He writes that mental suffering will someday be seen as a relic of the past, just as physical suffering during surgery was effectively eliminated with the advent of anaesthesia.

In his work, Pearce outlines how drugs and technologies, including genetic engineering and nanotechnology, could enable the end of suffering in all sentient life. In the short term, Pearce argues, well-being can be helped by designer drugs, especially since safer mood-brighteners are becoming more readily available. In the long-term, however, suffering could be abolished by genetic engineering through biotechnology.

In 1998, Pearce co-founded Humanity+, the international transhumanism association, with fellow philosopher Nick Bostrom, now the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. The association, then known as the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), is a nonprofit organisation that advocates transhumanism – an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

Pearce's ideas have inspired a strain of transhumanism based on paradise engineering. Pearce is vegan, and the increasing number of vegans and vegetarians in the transhumanist movement has been attributed to his influence.

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