by David Pearce (2015-18)
David Pearce answers Quora questions


  1. What are your philosophical positions in one paragraph?
  2. Is "The Hedonistic Imperative" plausible? Is it truly imperative for sentient life to seek self-gratification?
  3. Is "The Hedonistic Imperative" ethical / moral to Christians?
  4. How can physics explain qualia?
  5. How would David Pearce respond to Jordan Peterson's assertion that the answer to suffering is meaning, rather than eradication of suffering?
  6. How do you interpret human consciousness? Are you the center of the universe?
  7. What is your theory of mind?
  8. Is physics an explanation of reality or a description of reality?
  9. Should we prevent the pain and suffering of wild animals? Why or why not?
  10. Could David Pearce explain his views on consciousness, materialism, and quantum physics in simple language?
  11. What do transhumanists think of David Pearce's "The Hedonistic Imperative"?
  12. Is Elon Musk a transhumanist?
  13. Should abolitionism (bioethics) be applied to non-humans?
  14. What are the arguments against antinatalism?
  15. How do I believe that the humans around me actually possess consciousness?
  16. Will there ever be a time when, as a species, we eradicate warfare completely? Why / why not, if yes how? And within what time frame?
  17. What is High-Tech Jainism?
  18. Are we quantum computers?
  19. In what year was the original Hedonistic Imperative written?
  20. Effective Altruism: What do effective altruists think of eugenics?
  21. Why are there meat eaters or carnivores? Why can't all animals be herbivores?
  22. How much do our pain thresholds differ?
  23. Are our perceptions physically existing somewhere?
  24. Does consciousness serve any evolutionary purpose? Is it even necessary for biological systems to work?
  25. Why is there something rather than nothing?
  26. Is everything made of consciousness?
  27. Do Holocaust survivors feel empathy for slaughtered animals?
  28. What does David Pearce think about the strands in philosophy that describe suffering as an essential part of human existence?
  29. If events at both the quantum and "macro" levels are neither random nor deterministic, then can "probability" be viewed as a unifying principle between them?
  30. How could we stop Super AI once it becomes sentient? Is that even possible?
  31. How could we make life on Earth a utopia?
  32. What is the scientific evidence against materialism?
  33. What are the most convincing theories that time is an illusion?
  34. What do you think about the view that veganism may increase wild animal suffering, because veganism have smaller environmental impact?
  35. Would there be self-awareness and consciousness without the brain?
  36. Which position has the burden of proof: dualism or physicalism?
  37. Can time go backwards in quantum theory?
  38. Will we be able to create conscious AI without understanding how our consciousness works first?
  39. Is speciesism bad?
  40. Is the brain a quantum computer?
  41. What if consciousness doesn't come from the brain and scientists have been fooled- bamboozled and-drawing wrong conclusion since the inception of neuroscience?
  42. Population Ethics: How has the approach to the repugnant conclusion changed in the last 30 years?
  43. What is an interesting fact about you?
  44. How would we tackle an alien invasion?
  45. Philosophy: Is consciousness necessary for existence?
  46. What would the Nazis think about transhumanism?
  47. Could it be that only quantum reality exists, and that classical macroscopic experiences, events, and physics are just the interpretations and measurements of this quantum reality by the senses of a particular type of observer?
  48. Are we, human beings, 100% particle and 100% wave?
  49. Are there any reasonable reasons to believe that there is a connection between quantum physics and consciousness?
  50. How do vegans feel about wild animals that kill other wild animals? I wonder if they are opposed to all predatory species, or just us humans at the top of the food chain? Surely they must realize, eating meat is as natural a thing as there could possibly be...
  51. How does inflationary multiverse fit with the many worlds interpretation?
  52. What do quantum physicists say about the microtubules quantum mind theories?
  53. Is genetic engineering (CRISPR, gene drives, etc.) advanced enough to kill or save billions of people?
  54. Is the scientific and philosophical concept of physicalism / materialism falsifiable?
  55. What are the main differences between the anti-natalism / efilism community and the negative utilitarian/”suffering-focused ethics” wing of the effective altruism community?
  56. Space is 3 dimensions. Time is a 4th. How many dimensions beyond these four are generally accepted to exist?
  57. Can everything we know possibly be false?
  58. Is our universe the only possible one?
  59. If one wished to devote their life to it, which occupation would best serve the goal of increasing the human happiness set-point?
  60. How much good do you do in the world?
  61. What would be more difficult to explain: consciousness or existence?
  62. How many infinities exist?
  63. Why do people with very high I.Q.s dismiss the possibility of a higher power, while people of average intelligence are more likely to believe in God?
  64. Is your most upvoted answer your best answer?
  65. What did Hitler think about the Jews that were crying during the Holocaust?
  66. Can consciousness be destroyed?
  67. Should we change carnivores into herbivores to make the world more moral?
  68. What did really happen with Schrödinger's cat?
  69. What will happen to us if we eliminate boredom? How will it affect our creativity?
  70. How should gene drives be regulated in the U.S. and beyond?
  71. Is consciousness provable?
  72. Why can't we be happy for other people's success?
  73. Does anything really matter?
  74. Does consciousness exist on the Planck scale?
  75. Through what mechanism could consciousness be causally effective?
  76. Could there be an entirely unknown field of science – biology, physics, chemistry – that we've yet to discover, and if so, what might it cover?
  77. I'm 69 years old and I cry everyday knowing that I'll die soon and get erased forever or will not have consciousness. What can I do to get mental peace?
  78. Are effective altruists nicer than most people?
  79. If there was no gravitational force then what would the world and universe be like?
  80. What are some possible answers to the Hard Problem of consciousness?
  81. How did you find out about effective altruism?
  82. What is the current state of affairs in philosophy concerning the symbol grounding problem?
  83. I had sex with my girlfriend while she was asleep. Was this rape?
  84. Why are some people more interested in improving animals' lives than human lives?
  85. Are there any observations of evolving intelligence in animals by natural or human selection?
  86. Do you sometimes get overwhelmed / saddened by the knowledge that countless number of sentient beings go through an immense amount of suffering every second? How do you handle and/or overcome it?
  87. What is the difference between a theoretical physicist and an armchair physicist?
  88. What will life be after the Transhumanism (humanity+) project is finished?
  89. What is the latest view on the Hard Problem of consciousness? Is there really a hard problem or are we simply getting it wrong?
  90. Is all that we see just a manifestation of our consciousness?
  91. Do you think computer game characters have a consciousness? Or one day we will create characters with consciousness?
  92. I feel like a lot of evil actions in the world have supporters who justify them (like Nazis). Can you come up with some convincing ways in which some of the most evil actions in the world could be justified?
  93. Is transhumanism compatible with Islam?
  94. Does the multiverse theory include an explanation for the origination of something out of nothing?
  95. What is a quantum mind?
  96. Is it possible for a person to survive with only one (left or right) hemisphere of the brain?
  97. Are radical eliminativists about consciousness p-zombies? Or do they misinterpret the nature of their own consciousness?
  98. Why do some men get off by abusing women?
  99. Can someone explain what I believe to be the silly crossover of "consciousness" into quantum physics or mechanics? It seems like a lot of woo to me.
  100. After an irreversible transition to a blissful existence with boundless cognitive, physical and transcendental euphoria, what would you do?
  101. What is the difference between level of consciousness and level of intelligence?
  102. What is the difference between materialism and physicalism?
  103. Why do some physicists want to "rebuild quantum mechanics from scratch"
  104. Is suffering a necessary part of the human condition? What would people who never suffer be like?
  105. Do you believe that consciousness is emergent from the brain or that we are emergent from consciousness?
  106. Have you ever thought about how other people saw your existence?
  107. Can AI surpass human intelligence without showing any mark of consciousness?
  108. Are there physicists who have gone mad from learning about quantum mechanics?
  109. Does Nozick's experience machine prove anything?
  110. Is it correct to use quantum theory to explain spirituality?
  111. If you had a chance would you destroy the world?
  112. What is the link between mind, brain and consciousness?
  113. Where should I start to understand David Pearce's philosophy from the "beginning"?
  114. If you could gradually replace your brains neurons with prosthetics, one neuron at a time, would you be the same person when the process was completed?
  115. Is it immoral to kill an ant?
  116. Why are there physicists who explore the link between quantum mechanics and consciousness when there is none?
  117. Why do transhumanists have a bright view of the future?
  118. Do you believe physical pain could be eliminated as you profess psychological suffering will cease to exist in sentient beings?
  119. What is transhumanism?
  120. Is it possible that the Hard Problem of consciousness has a simple answer?
  121. What earthly animal comes closest to human levels of sentience?
  122. What is David Pearce's current supplement regimen?
  123. Is it possible to 'exist' but not be aware of one's existence?
  124. What makes a quantum field?
  125. What is the secret of eternal happiness?
  126. Are claims about consciousness being connected to quantum mechanics quantum flapdoodle?
  127. What is the strongest argument against David Pearce's The Hedonistic Imperative?
  128. Is there any literary / historical connection between Lewis' metaphysical modal realism and the many worlds interpretation of QM?
  129. What are the drawbacks of transhumanism on different levels (physical, moral and ethical)?
  130. Can anyone produce a magnificent theory of physics without the use of advanced mathematics?
  131. What is the evolutionary selective advantage of consciousness?
  132. Is it insane to believe nothing exists?
  133. Is quantum consciousness a phenomenon?
  134. How do we live happy lives, in spite of vegans?
  135. Would you rather be a male or female?
  136. If the many worlds theory is true, why is consciousness restricted to one cohesive timeline?
  137. Is physics or mathematics more fundamental?
  138. How could I experience the qualia of others?
  139. Do you believe we'll ever know not only how the universe came to be, but why is there nature, instead of just nothing, as a physicist?
  140. What are the assumptions of physicalism?
  141. I'm 17 and just realized that the universe is indifferent to our suffering. The universe still expands. Life goes on. What is the point?
  142. Do you have an interesting explanation for any of the paradoxes of quantum mechanics, which might involve novel, or unconventional thinking (outside of the box)?
  143. What is David Pearce's response to Vegan Antinatalist's video "Why David Pearce is wrong about Antinatalism"?
  144. Why can’t science explain consciousness?
  145. What are the promises of gene editing?
  146. What do physicists think of quantum Darwinism?
  147. What should I do if I seem to have fallen in a nihilistic abyss?
  148. Can natural selection be a conscious endeavor?
  149. Is Science intrinsically physicalist or materialist?
  150. Can plants be considered smarter than humans?
  151. Why isn't consciousness developed in any other species except human beings?
  152. Why are vegans so cruel to vegetables?
  153. Is anti-natalism incompatible with Christianity?
  154. What is the purpose of our species and why should we not opt for extinction?
  155. Are there any complete metaphysical frameworks that provide a model for how everything in the world can be explained?
  156. What do vegetarians feel when they see someone eating a juicy, delicious, tasty hamburger?
  157. Would a superintelligent AI be conscious?
  158. Why do people think abortion is okay when they're actually murdering a defenceless baby?
  159. Is there a mutation preventing a human from gaining consciousness?
  160. How should we categorize the binding problem in the context of the easy and hard problem of consciousness?
  161. I have heard plants described as animals that don’t move, and animals as plants that move. Obvious visual and energy source differences aside, could plants be ‘philosophical-zombies?’
  162. If all the ants in the world suddenly became as intelligent as humans and were hell bent on world domination, could they eliminate the human race in a coordinated attack?
  163. Why doesn't eugenics work?
  164. Are any current theories of consciousness falsifiable?
  165. Does the "experience machine" (pleasure machine) argument adequately refute hedonism?
  166. Is philosophy dead?
  167. How can AI be useful to answer the 'Hard' problem of consciousness?
  168. Is "nothing" really possible? How can the concept of "nothing" be validated as real?
  169. Was Parfit correct about consciousness and how we're not the same person that we were when we were born?
  170. Are particles conscious?
  171. Can consciousness be modelled mathematically?
  172. Why did humans and other animals evolve to be conscious of the world around them?
  173. What is really “hard” about “the hard problem of consciousness”?
  174. What are some philosophical arguments against the possibility of conscious machines?
  175. Why is existence so complex?
  176. Philosophers of physics: what is your preferred interpretation of quantum mechanics and why?
  177. What is a good way to describe the hard problem of consciousness to someone with little background in philosophy and/or science?
  178. How may accepting quantum mind (potentially) factor in resolving extant metaphysical questions such as causation, identity, supervenience, modality, binding etc. in tension with the Standard Model?
  179. What would be the philosophical and societal implications if Kantian idealism were somehow proven true and dualism and physicalism fell by the wayside?
  180. What is the root cause of all suffering?
  181. What do physicists think of the philosophers of physics who philosophise about physics?
  182. Should anything actually exist?
  183. Do physicists tend to be physicalists?
  184. Can subjective experience and the physical be reconciled?
  185. How is eugenics justified?
  186. Can anyone ever explain the 'Measurement Problem' in quantum physics?
  187. Did matter arise from consciousness, or did consciousness arise from matter?
  188. What if solipsism is true?
  189. What animals have two brains?
  190. Is eugenics moral?
  191. "Consciousness" is defined as the state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings. By that definition, are computers already conscious?
  192. Do subjective moral values exist?
  193. Is interface theory of perception a convincing theory?
  194. Do you believe that Musk, Hawking, etc. are wrong to fear self-aware AI? If so, why?
  195. What do you think of the panpsychist view that everything has an element of consciousness?
  196. What if you don't like it in Heaven?
  197. I've been a long-time avid reader of your Hedonistic Imperative, but recently discovered "Jhana" meditation states. Wonder if you are you aware of those blissful states? Why are the experiences of jhana so unknown?
  198. How can we best resolve the problem of definite outcomes in quantum mechanics?
  199. What is something everybody likes?
  200. Is the mind made of material substance, if so how is consciousness possible?
  201. What are the main points of disagreement between Brian Tomasik and David Pearce?
  202. Can you prove others’ consciousness?
  203. What causes human suffering?
  204. Do you believe that suffering is worthwhile?
  205. If we were always happy, would we know what happiness is?
  206. What is your opinion on quantum immortality?
  207. Should we be concerned about the welfare of insects?
  208. Is a low-IQ brain essentially a low-quality brain?
  209. Does quantum mechanics really have something to do with consciousness, or as is sometimes asserted, does this idea belong in the category of “quantum woo”?
  210. How does sentience benefit survival and why is it developed?
  211. How can I explain the factors which determine the fate of the universe?
  212. In Everettian quantum mechanics, under what conditions does a branching occur?
  213. What would you do if someone attempted to rescue a prey from its predator?
  214. Is it possible that our understanding of physics is completely wrong?
  215. What are the main tenets of transhumanism?
  216. Is consciousness a scary word?
  217. Is consciousness possibly a quantum field, just as gravity can be represented as a quantum field?
  218. What do you think of natural selection being used as an argument against vegetarianism and veganism?
  219. Is it still possible to obtain a DNA sample of Jeanne Calment?
  220. David Pearce (philosopher): How does David Pearce (the philosopher) make money?
  221. Can a human be conscious about two thoughts at the same time?
  222. In quantum mechanics would it make more sense to throw out realism or locality -- or both -- knowing local realism is incompatible with what we consider the physical world -- or is there no intuition on which to throw out?
  223. What is the connection between transhumanism and eugenics?
  224. What do physicists think of David Pearce's
  225. What does David Pearce think of negative utilitarianism?
  226. Where do we perceive the outside world since the brain itself is "the outside world"? Where is our consciousness?
  227. What is the adaptive significance of consciousness?
  228. What would happen if the whole world was gay?
  229. What will come after humans have gone extinct?
  230. Why does existence exist?
  231. What are the best non-materialist theories of consciousness?
  232. What is Eliezer Yudkowsky's reputation in academia, especially among other AI researchers?
  233. Does a human being's right to life imply a right to life extension?
  234. Why would someone want to end humanity?
  235. What's the Cartesian theater? Can consciousness be explained without it?
  236. Can you boil quantum physics down to one sentence?
  237. What happens to our consciousness when we're asleep?
  238. What do Hedonists and Transhumanists think about the negative portrayal of Soma and genetic engineering in Brave New World?
  239. What do you think of utilitarianism?
  240. Is it possible that humankind is lacking something that we can't define, that is missing from our understanding of the universe?
  241. How does consciousness interact with the brain?
  242. Are there exceptions to the natural selection theory and to the "survival of the fittest" rule?
  243. Since the Hedonistic Imperative now seems technically feasible, what are the largest sociological barriers stopping its realization?
  244. Is the universe really composed of matter?
  245. Why is superlongevity so much more popular among transhumanists than superhappiness?
  246. What is your view of John Wheeler’s concept that we exist in a participatory universe, which he described as “it from bit’?
  247. Does quantum physics explain consciousness?
  248. What do anti-natalists think of The Hedonistic Imperative as proposed by David Pearce?
  249. What are your thoughts on anti-natalism?
  250. Are we trying to increase the longevity of any species other than humans?
  251. Has David Pearce signed up for cryonics?
  252. What is the difference between perception and consciousness?
  253. How can race influence intelligence?
  254. Does quantum mechanics ignore logic?
  255. Does the mind depend on the brain for its existence? When the brain ceases to exist, does the mind cease to exist?
  256. Does the Problem of Evil prove that we are not in a simulation?
  257. What are some books on physicalism (materialism)? Who are some physicalist philosophers?
  258. It's a fairly widespread belief that sufficiently intelligent or complex computational processes will result in phenomenal subjective experience. What are the metaphysical assumptions this belief rests on, and are they likely to be true?
  259. What is reality made of?
  260. If you had a magic button that could put an end to all sufferings on earth (psychological, physical, social, etc.), would you press it? And why?
  261. Do we have to follow the Hedonistic Imperative as a lifestyle by David Pearce?
  262. If consciousness can be explained by existing physical laws, why don't we have a mathematical equation for consciousness, like we have for gravity?
  263. If robots decide to exterminate the human race, how would they do it?
  264. Quantum physics says that an observer determines the reality upon observation. Now, why is the reality so consistent across all observers?
  265. Why don't animal rights activists care more about wild animal suffering?
  266. What is David Pearce's position on meta-ethics?
  267. Is the Hard Problem of consciousness a category error, or does it ultimately simply go away if one ignores it (in emergence and sufficient complexity)?
  268. What evidence is there for quantum computation in the brain?
  269. What do Peter Singer and David Pearce think of each other?
  270. Should humans wipe out all carnivorous animals so the succeeding generations of herbivores can live in peace?
  271. What will life be like in the year 3000?
  272. Why does 'anything' exist?
  273. ANSWERS

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