This site is supported by Nobility Studios.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Exploring Antinatalism

6 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I shall say from the outset that I am naturally inclined to find the antinatalist position repulsive. But perhaps like a med student cutting through a cadaver for the first time, I can work through the nausea. It is my intention to quell the tide of my personal sentimentality, at least insofar as it would preclude a reasoned and honest examination of antinatalism.

The position manifests itself tied to varying metaethical theories, it comes to us polychromatically, grounded in misanthropy and also purportedly, philanthropy, there are analytically oriented explications of the position, and empirically leaning ones. What all the variations of antinatalism share in common is this: they are awfully bossy! :preach: Joking aside, antinatalism, however grounded or flavored, is prescriptive. Though shalt...thou shalt not, in this case, thou shalt not bring children into the world. In the wake of normativity generally, but particularly imperatives with such existential ramifications, it is quite natural to ask, and this is evidenced by the billions of five year olds who, through the ages and expressed in every known human language, have asked: WHY? Why should I relative to comission, and why shouldn't I relative to omission.

And it is here that I would like to begin this exploration of antinatalism.

Edited by DeadCanDance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I don't know if I could argue the extreme position of antinatalism, which I think is what you are espousing, that is no births at all.

From my perspective, I see myself as partially antinatalist, in that I think for the health of the world population growth needs to be at 0 or maybe partially negative. The reason I see this is because of resources, not that I don't want people to have children. That needs to happen of course! :)

Maybe we can somehow find the resources for another billion people, but I have my doubts. If a collapse happens, more people will die then if we had just curbed a little bit of procreation. ;)

This I know, will never happen. When you talk about this, people seem to think you want to kill off everybody, or that they deserve to do whatever they want.

It isn't a happy position to think we need to curb population growth, but it doesn't come from not caring! At least not for me. :)

-Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Give or take a few, if we continue at our present rate, by 2150 there's going to be a hypothetical 12,000 people trying to live on every square mile of land on Earth. Unless something happens, and I mean something big, I don't think any tweaking we could do as individuals is going to make a great lot of difference. Mother nature will soon sort our kind out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

David Benatar, in analytical style, has authored a work with an explicit contention contained within the title itself: Better Never To Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence. He contends that being brought into existence always constitutes a harm to the one being brought into existence and that this is of a morally impermissible nature as regards those who bring the individual into existence. This contention is grounded in the following Asymmetry:

1) The presence of pain is bad

2) The presence of pleasure is good...

3) The absence of pain is good, even if that good is not enjoyed by anyone

4) The absence of pleasure is not bad unless there is somebody for whom this absence is a deprivation.

Consider:

Scenario A

(X exists)

This involves... The Presence of Pain (Bad) & The Presence of Pleasure (Good) = (Good/Bad)

Scenario B

(X never exists)

This involves... The Absence of Pain (Good) & The Absence of Pleasure (Not Bad) = (Good/Not Bad)

To quote Benatar: "Because there is nothing bad about never coming into existence, but there is something bad about coming into existence, all things considered, nonexistence is preferable."

Things are never so simple, and in response to Benatar's work, which has been cause for a great deal of controversy, pages of ink have been spilt on Benatar's argument from asymmetry, the so called "non-identity problem," the difference between impersonal and personal good and bad, etc, etc, I hope to explore these wide ranging issues in this thread.

Edited by DeadCanDance
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I'm following this topic since it is of interest to me, especially now that I have been thinking about it for some time, this pro non-existence idea. At first glance the argument of Benatar seems irrefutable to me, emotionally and logically.

As a personal opinion, antinatalism appears to me to be a very compassionate position - to avoid the absolutely certain suffering that life imposes on us; plus when one is alive, the aggregation of the consciousness of death and all the existential problems related to it are of such a weary and horrible type, that the "pleasure" and calm of nonexistence are a "bliss" in comparison, at least to me, those billions of years of nonexistence were "heaven" - and the main reason why I find attraction to it.

There is an article by Benatar that could be discussed too, as an addendum to the book you mentioned:

http://www.philosophypress.co.uk/?p=1902

Edited by Paulus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

1) I take issue without #3 in Benatar's argument. I would contend that the absence of pain is itself not "good." The absence of pain for an existing entity with the capacity to experience it may be good, but in the absence of said entity, I fail to see why it would be warranted to call the state of affairs involving nothingness "good." It's nothing at all. Now, the state of affairs where person X does not exist may indeed be "better" than the state of affairs in which she does, for instance, if her existence would entail horrible, unceasing suffering and no enjoyment or pleasure, but that evaluative judgment is relative to the scenario in which she does exist. This does not mean that the non-existence of pain entailed in person X's non-existence is "good."

2) The absence of pleasure and the absence of pain in a state of affairs involving the non-existence of persons seems neutral, and there is nothing that, it seems to me, warrants the claim that a maximally ethical world would be one involving the universal embrace of anti-natalism, a world with a population "0" because there are 'harms' involved in existing as human persons. If the sum total of the good and bad of a person's life is "better" than the neutrality involved in non-existence, it would not be immoral for that person to be brought into existence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0