David Pearce (philosopher)

David Pearce (philosopher)
David Pearce
Full name David Pearce
Born United Kingdom

David Pearce is a British philosopher of the negative utilitarian school of ethics. 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.[1] His book-length internet manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative[2] 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 ending animal suffering.

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.[3]

Pearce owns domain names in large numbers in the area of scientific terms, especially those concerning psychopharmacology, and keywords concerning various drugs and terms related to them. These sites post original content.[4]


Positions and affiliations

BLTC Research

Pearce is the director of BLTC Research. BLTC Research is a non-profit research organization which was founded by Pearce in 1995. It seeks to elucidate the underlying physiological mechanisms of physical and mental suffering, with the intention of eradicating suffering. The goals of BLTC include determining the final common neurological pathway of both pleasure and pain in the brain. BLTC suggests that once this process is better understood, it might be possible to more effectively design medicines and other treatments for various mental illnesses, as well as cure the painful symptoms of many diseases.[5]

BLTC Research takes inspiration from writings of negative utilitarian philosophers. Negative utilitarians set the moral goal of life as the minimization of suffering, as opposed to utilitarianism, which promotes the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people, sometimes at the expense of others.[citation needed] Rather than the promotion of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, negative utilitarianism promotes the least suffering for the most number of people. Negative utilitarians believe that the elimination of every kind of suffering in the world is more important than the net growth of happiness. BLTC Research promotes the idea of using modern biology to eliminate any forms of suffering.[6]

Based in Kemptown, Brighton, UK, the organization publishes online texts in support of the biochemical and biotechnological methods by which its proponents believe sentient suffering could be abolished in future generations.[7] The BLTC network also contains information regarding many psychopharmacological methods that have the potential to make contemporary life as painless as possible for those currently living. It also provides information and ideas on the emerging philosophies of bioethical abolitionism, paradise engineering, and neo-hedonism.

Abolitionism (in the bioethical sense) is concerned with the ethical and moral arguments inherent in removing suffering from all sentient life.[citation needed] Paradise engineering proposes that the future eradication of all sentient suffering, pain and malaise could be best achieved through the utilisation of modern methods of biotechnology such as nanotechnology and genetic engineering.[citation needed] Neo-hedonism focuses on the ways in which contemporary day-to-day suffering can be most successfully dealt with through the use of psychopharmacology and personalized medicine.[citation needed]

With their involvement in such disciplines, the work of BLTC Research also acts as a focal point for supporters of other well-established philosophies including, but not limited to, techno-utopianism and transhumanism. BLTC provides arguments supporting many disparate threads of interest connecting these individual schools of thought.[citation needed]

BLTC also discusses critiques of the most popular arguments used against such techno-utopian perspectives, for example that of the Brave New World polemic.[8] The BLTC network also contains many neo-hedonist texts regarding how readers can attempt to help themselves to feel mentally and physically "better than well" through developing and maintaining the correct balance of a healthy diet, responsible drug use, and pharmacogenomics.[9] The BLTC network maintains a knowledge database concerned with many of the most well-researched modern compounds and practices that can be utilised for tackling pain and suffering in daily life.[citation needed]

The Abolitionist Society

In 2002 Pearce co-founded the Abolitionist Society with Pablo Stafforini, Sean Henderson, and Jaime Savage, in order to help promote the idea of abolitionism of suffering and to discuss the implications involved with a wider range of audience.[10]


Pearce co-founded Humanity+ with Nick Bostrom, a fellow Oxford philosopher.[11] Humanity+ advocates transhumanism, an ideology and movement which has emerged to support the recognition and protection of the right of citizens either to maintain or modify their own minds and bodies so as to guarantee them the freedom of choice and informed consent of using human enhancement technologies on themselves and their children.

Other positions

Pearce sits on the board of Elsevier's controversial journal Medical Hypotheses.[12] He also has a position at the advisory board of Lifeboat Foundation.[13]

Networking projects

Pearce runs a web hosting company [14] and owns numerous domain names based on scientific terms — which he uses for publishing original content online.[15]

See also



  1. ^ Suffering: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. Icon Group International. 2008. p. 457. ISBN 0546659349. 
  2. ^ "The Hedonistic Imperative". http://www.hedweb.com/hedethic/tabconhi.htm. 
  3. ^ "The Genomic Bodhisattva". H+ Magazine. 2009-09-16. http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/09/16/genomic-bodhisattva/. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  4. ^ "Good Domains For A Better World". http://www.bltc.com/domains.htm. 
  5. ^ "Mission Statement of BLTC Research". http://www.bltc.info/. 
  6. ^ "The Pinprick Argument". http://utilitarianism.com/pinprick-argument.html. 
  7. ^ "Paradise Engineering : The BLTC Library". http://www.bltc.com/library/library.htm. 
  8. ^ "Brave New World? A Defence of Paradise-Engineering". http://www.huxley.net/. 
  9. ^ "The Good Drug Guide: The Responsible Parent's Guide to Healthy Mood-Boosters for All the Family". http://biopsychiatry.com/. 
  10. ^ The Abolitionist Society. "Abolitionism". Archived from the original on February 1, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070201231438/http://www.abolitionist-society.com/abolitionism.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  11. ^ "Humanity+ FAQ #45". http://humanityplus.org/learn/transhumanist-faq/#answer_45. 
  12. ^ "Medical Hypotheses' Editorial Board". http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaleditorialboard.cws_home/623059/editorialboard. 
  13. ^ "Lifeboat Foundation's Futurist Board". http://lifeboat.com/ex/boards#futurists. 
  14. ^ "Knightsbridge Online". http://knightsbridge.net/. 
  15. ^ "The Virtual Empire on Which the Sun Never Sets". http://www.hedweb.com/paradise.html. 

External links

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