From: Norman Samish <ncsamish.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 21:56:19 -0700


Thanks for your identification of David Pearce - I see he was co-founder
(with Nick Bostrom) of the World Transhumanist Association. I have a lot of
respect for Bostrom's views.

However, it's Pearce's viewpoint about "WHY DOES ANYTHING EXIST" that I'm
interested in. This viewpoint is expressed at
http://www.hedweb.com/nihilism/nihilfil.htm His conclusion seems to be that
everything in the multiverse adds up to zero, so there are no loose ends
that need explaining. Even if true, this doesn't answer the WHY question,

If you or others have opinions on WHY, I'd like to hear them. I wonder if
your opinion will be that no opinion is possible?

Norman Samish

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <stathispapaioannou.domain.name.hidden>
To: <stephenk1.domain.name.hidden>; <everything-list.domain.name.hidden.com>;
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 9:28 PM
Subject: Re: Tipler Weighs In

Dear Stephen,

Pearce spends considerable time in his thesis discussing the harm that
"Brave New World" has done to Utopian causes. I rather suspect that Huxley
would not have been disapproving, given his libertarian sympathies and
fondness for hallucinogens in his later work. Orwell is completely
different; there's nothing even superficially pleasant about his dystopian
vision. The others I would have to look up; do you mean Frank "Dune" Herbert
or another Frank Herbert?

Pearce's thesis is freely available on his website, and it really is very
well written, addressing just about every possible objection before you
think of it.


>Hi Stathis,
> Nice review! I wonder about Pierce, has he read Huxley or Orwell? He
>and all should read the advice of Eric Hoffer, Frank Herbert and others,
>warning us of the dangers of trying to push utopias. More modern treatments
>include Philip Ball's "Critical Mass".
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Stathis Papaioannou"
>To: <ncsamish.domain.name.hidden>; <everything-list.domain.name.hidden.com>
>Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 10:57 PM
>Subject: Re: Tipler Weighs In
>>David Pearce is a British philosopher with Utilitarian leanings, and his
>>extensive "HedWeb" site has been around for many years. His main thesis
>>is contained in a book-length article called "The Hedonistic Imperative",
>>in which he argues that the aim of civilization should be the ultimate
>>elimination of all suffering in sentient life. He proposes that this be
>>done not primarily through traditional methods, such as banning animal
>>cruelty (although he has much to say about that as well), but by directly
>>accessing and altering the neural mechanisms responsible for suffering,
>>through pharmacological and neurological means initially, and eventually
>>through genetic engineering so that no organism is physically capable of
>>experiencing suffering.
>>Pearce's thesis does not really address the next stage after
>>neuroengineering often discussed on this list, namely living as uploaded
>>minds on a computer network. The interesting question arises of how we
>>would (or should) spend our time in this state. It would be a simple
>>matter of programming to eliminate suffering and spend eternity (or
>>however long it lasts) in a state of heavenly bliss. The obvious response
>>to such a proposal is that perpetual bliss would be boring, and leave no
>>room for motivation, curiosity, progress, etc. But boredom is just another
>>adverse experience which could be simply eliminated if you have access to
>>the source code. And if you think about it, even such tasks as
>>participating in discussions such as the present one are only really
>>motivated by anticipation of the complex pleasure gained from it; if you
>>could get the same effect or better, directly, with no adverse
>>consequences, why would you waste your time doing it the hard way?
>>--Stathis Papaioannou
Received on Tue May 17 2005 - 00:59:50 PDT

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