By David Benatar
Higher by no means to were argues for a couple of similar, hugely provocative, perspectives: (1) entering lifestyles is usually a major damage. (2) it really is constantly mistaken to have young ones. (3) it truly is improper to not abort fetuses on the past phases of gestation. (4) it'd be larger if, due to there being no new humans, humanity turned extinct. those perspectives could sound unbelievable--but someone who reads Benatar should be obliged to take them heavily.
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Extra resources for Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence
The analysis of the cheerful is mistaken for a number of reasons: First, it makes the wrong comparison. If we want to determine whether non-existence is preferable to existence, or vice versa, then we must compare the left- and the right-hand sides of the diagram, which represent the alternative scenarios in which X exists and in which X never exists. Comparing the upper and the lower quadrants on the left does not tell us whether Scenario A is better than Scenario B or vice versa. That is unless quadrants () and () are rendered irrelevant.
In such cases the choice will be between bringing a defective child into existence or bringing a healthy, but different, child into existence. ⁶ For a defence of the use of this pronoun see Benatar, David, ‘Sexist Language: Alternatives to the Alternatives’, Public Affairs Quarterly, / () –. ⁷ The example is Derek Parfit’s. See his Reasons and Persons, . Why Coming into Existence Is Always a Harm ∼ Whereas the claim that coming into existence is always a harm runs counter to most (but not all) people’s intuitions, the claim that coming into existence in the aforementioned cases is a harm accords very well with popular intuition.
We may not know who that person would have been, but we can still say that whoever that person would have been, the avoidance of his or her pains is good when judged in terms of his or her potential interests. If there is any (obviously loose) sense in which the absent pain is good for the person who could have existed but does not exist, this is it. ²³ In support of the asymmetry between () and (), it can be shown that it has considerable explanatory power. It explains at least four other asymmetries that are quite plausible.