Ep. 43 - David Pearce on Ending Suffering
In this installment of the Future Grind podcast host Ryan O’Shea sits down with David Pearce, the British philosopher best known for his 1995 manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative. Pearce argues that should work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. This sounds great, but when you explore the details of how this might be possible, including genetic modification of humans, population-level gene drive technology, and the elimination of predator species, things can get pretty controversial.
They explore these and other light and fun topics including anti-natalism, existential risk, animal uplift, Nozick’s experience machine, and more.
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David’s early interest in philosophy [1:42]
The Hedonistic Imperative [4:07]
The Abolitionist Project [6:50]
Defining of “bliss” & “suffering” [9:02]
How to accomplish the Abolitionist Project in Humans [14:24]
Predation & Suffering in the Natural World [21:43]
Better to have lived & died (for eating) or not? [23:06]
Negative Utilitarianism [26:49]
Anti-natalism - is procreation a negative? [30:00]
Pearce’s desire to end existence [33:29]
Is Pearce an Existential Risk? [35:34]
Teaming up with Nick Bostrom to launch the WTA [45:21]
Conscious computers & philosophical zombies [48:30]
Nozick’s Experience Machine [52:44]
Torture & David’s Pain Tolerance [55:24]
Consent & Animal Uplift [57:14]
Thoughts on Free Will [59:39]
What’s next for David [1:00:56]
SCN9A Pain Gene
Jo Cameron - doesn’t feel pain
Ahimsa in Jainism
Pearce’s Reprogramming Predators
Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan
Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"
AI Value Alignment Problem
Nick Bostrom, Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University
David Chalmers, Dualism
Nozick’s Experience Machine
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