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Abolishing all suffering. Do you think it's possible? How do we get there?
April 17, 2011
11:49 am
Nikki Olson

"Abolitionism is a bioethical school and movement which proposes the use of biotechnology to maximize happiness and minimize suffering while working towards the abolition of involuntary suffering.[1] “Abolition” is used for the name of this movement, in the context of “the abolition of suffering".

The Abolitionist Society is a non-profit foundation and forum, founded in 2002, dedicated to the advancement of this philosophy."


"The term “abolitionism,” used to describe the use of biotechnology to eliminate suffering, was first proposed by Lewis Mancini in 1986, in his articles for Medical Hypotheses Journal. Abolitionism is the use of science to maximize happiness and minimize suffering — not just in humans but in all sentient life. It is a philosophy inspired by utilitarian ethics: if happiness equals value, then the elimination of suffering or 'maximization of value' should be the prime objective of the human race.

Abolitionism makes no distinction among sentient creatures— all are deemed worthy of being saved from suffering by biotechnological intervention.

An ethical system that is similar to transhumanism, Abolitionism deliberately defines its rationale and method of determining value according to a prime ethical directive with a focus on eliminating involuntary suffering, whereas Transhumanism promotes a collection of values including the well-being of all sentient beings without addressing the question of whether or not involuntary suffering should eventually be eliminated"

April 17, 2011
6:54 pm

My first thought is "no." But it depends on how "suffering" is defined. I do believe the worse physical abuses *could* be abolished in a post-Singularity society. Not so sure about self-inflicted psychological suffering, though. I suspect there might be a need for some mental suffering, for a frame of reference.

July 4, 2011
7:00 pm

The person I found most useful when thinking about such things was Sam Harris.



I have read two of his books, "The Moral Landscape" and "The End of Faith".


I highly recommend both.

July 31, 2014
6:54 pm

I would agree with abolishing involuntary suffering, if one so desires the ability to "delete" their ability to feel pain, anger, hatred, depression, they should have the ability to do so.

July 31, 2014
6:56 pm

As for animals which would be very difficult to conscent to such changes in their bodies, yes, I would be in favor of giving them the ability to overcome depression and agonizing pain, but we will need to replace that pain with some other type of mechanism which warns them they are injured/attacked, but does not inflict pain.

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