Abolitionism is a philosophical school and movement which proposes the use of Biotechnology to maximize happiness and minimize suffering while working towards the abolition of involuntary suffering. Abolition is used for the name of this movement, in the context of “the abolition of suffering”.
Abolitionism is inspired by Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism, but goes a step further in that it is more principally inspired by the tenets of negative utilitarianism. Some Abolitionists consider the elimination of genetic discrimination to be a vital component of Abolitionism in the larger sense: eliminating all involuntary sentient suffering, which is believed to stem from Darwinian design. Most abolitionists would be classified as negative utilitarian, believing that suffering of any kind, no matter how small, should be prevented. Philosopher David Pearce’s abolitionist manifesto, The Hedonistic Imperative, serves as both an inspiration for the group’s theories and as a demonstration of how the world can convert Abolitionist philosophy into reality.
The ordinary capacity for human happiness is limited biologically as a result of natural selection. Pearce theorizes in his manifesto that use of emerging technologies, especially neuroscience, Biotechnology, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and psychopharmacology, can overcome our genetic propensity for depression and suffering. Abolitionists see depression as a physical, not mental, deficiency, that can therefore be solved just as anesthesia can prevent pain and just as medication can often make one feel better or worse. A depressed person can usually make themselves feel better only by attacking the physical root of the depression (e.g. by taking an antidepressant that changes serotonin re-uptake levels in the brain). By similarly re-engineering the brain, humans can become a new kind of being which experiences primarily happiness rather than a longing to reproduce. Some imagine that this could be accomplished through not only technology already in the pipeline, such as genetic engineering, but techniques that have not yet been realized such as mind Uploading.
Abolitionists promote the idea that emotions have a physically manipulable, not spiritual, source and that therefore we have the ability to fundamentally change the way that humans’ brains operate and the way that humans experience life. Abolitionists believe that where biological evolution has failed to create happiness for all people, technology can take over and eventually create a new type of Posthuman which feels only happiness and never suffers involuntarily while retaining and enhancing observable functionality. The Abolitionist Society is dedicated to bringing this idea to fruition.
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.
David Pearce, author of “The Hedonistic Imperative” and honorary president, founded the group with Pablo Stafforini, Sean Henderson, and Jaime Savage. The Abolitionist Society now serves as the focal point and prime community for this movement and philosophy. Pearce maintains a network of related websites on the abolitionist movement and associated subjects. The Abolitionist Society exists as a forum and ongoing initiative to critically evaluate and apply the ideals of Abolitionism through means of a nonprofit foundation.
== Literature relating to the abolitionist project==
Responses to commonly raised objections about the abolitionist project
The Hedonistic Imperative
Buddhism and Abolitionism
Critique of Huxley’s ‘‘Brave New World”
Utopian Pharmacology: Mental Health in the Third Millennium, MDMA and Beyond
== External links ==