• unenlightened
    5.6k


    Reason =

    1. Cause - I yawn because I am tired.
    2. Motive - I go to bed to get some rest.
    3.Justification - if I rest I will be less tired and more able to explain things.
    4. Function - rest allows the body to repair itself.

    You equivocate the various meanings and confusion results. This thread is about "arguments". It's the first word of the title. So it is not about causes, or motives or functions, it is about justification.

    The cause of having children is usually fucking.
    The motive is usually that people like fucking and like children.
    The function of children is to continue the species.
    The justification for having children is that life is a good.

    The justification in this case does not amount to an argument, it is a mere dogma. but it's as near as I wish to get. Someone will press me, and I will admit that suffering is good, because suffering is part of life. And then if someone pursues the matter I will have to stray from the topic and discuss the relation of pain to suffering. My children will suffer, and they will die. We all do. I see it and say 'yes'.
  • James Riley
    317
    It will definately take more than one generation.Isaac

    No, it will not, not for trees.

    The point is that if, for whatever reason, we're needed to do the replanting, we'll also be needed to do the tending.Isaac

    That does not follow.

    You can't invoke a self-sustaining nature to do the tending, but assume it incapable of doing the seed sowing.Isaac

    I did not assume nature was incapable of doing the sewing. Quite the opposite. If we'd simply do nothing except get out of the way, nature will both resew and tend itself. But if we want to do a favor for succeeding generations of people, then, rather than sewing the succeeding generations of people we could sew succeeding generations of trees in the areas that we've destroyed and then get out of the way.

    Repairing the damage we've done to the environment is exactly the sort of project I was referring to. It will definately take more than one generation.Isaac

    Have you ever heard the old saying "Stop helping!" It is usually followed by "If you want to help, . . ."

    Anyway, while this has all been fun, I think you and I are missing each other, or you are conflating my position with someone else. My position is this: While extinction of homo sapiens might be an attractive option for nature, I've got no truck with simply bringing our population back to a more sustainable level. That population will be way more than enough to tend, and even more effective in doing so, if it isn't saddled with the teaming hoards.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k
    The justification in this case does not amount to an argument, it is a mere dogma. but it's as near as I wish to get. Someone will press me, and I will admit that suffering is good, because suffering is part of life. And then if someone pursues the matter I will have to stray from the topic and discuss the relation of pain to suffering. My children will suffer, and they will die. We all do. I see it and say 'yes'.unenlightened

    I guess someone would question it and say, should the parent be the harbinger for someone else's suffering/overcoming-suffering game? Because YOU deem it as a good thing, should another be the recipient of your preference, especially if the consequence is a whole lifetime of unknown variations on a theme of possibilities of suffering?
  • unenlightened
    5.6k
    Because YOU deem it as a good thing, should another be the recipient of your preference, especially if the consequence is a whole lifetime of unknown variations on a theme of possibilities of suffering?schopenhauer1

    I act on my deeming as I suppose you act on yours. What other course do you suggest - that i act on yours and you on mine?
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    You don't seem to understand what it is to be rational or to be very yourself or recognise it in others.Bartricks

    Oh, yeah?!

    You seem to think - question beggingly - that if you have kids you're thereby showing concern for others! Er, seriously? It's those of us who have decided not to have kids for moral reasons who are showing concern for others. I think you're suffering from what Satre would call 'bad faith'. I doubt very much moral reasons played any role whatsoever in your decision to breed,Bartricks

    One characteristic of rational people is that they respond to the argument that's actually made rather than one they imagine. You should go back and read what I wrote in my previous post more carefully. I didn't say anything about morality.

    My experience politely listening to parents drone on about their banal decision to breed is that most of them decided to do so for either no real reason at all - they just sleepwalked into it - or for the kind of utterly unhealthy self-indulgent reasons some of which have already been surveyed above. Concern for others wasn't in the mix. Yet they don't hesitate to give themselves a big slap on the back for doing something that was unbelievably easy, namely the act of breeding itself (sex isn't hard, is it?) or else they want praise for doing something they jolly well ought to have done, such as dedicating time and effort to looking after the poor victims of their immoral and self-indulgent decisions (you forced them into being here, 'of course' you now owe it to them to do all in your power to ensure their existence here is a nice one - you owe them a living for christ's sake!!).Bartricks

    I think this is at the heart of it. I can see your opposition to having children includes rational reasons, but, based on the quoted text, it also includes a lot of resentment. I recognize that questioning a persons motives is not a valid argument, but you're the one who started it. I'll lay off if you will. Argue the argument, not my personality, morality, or shoe size. It's what rational people do.

    I don't expect to be taken seriously by those who have already procreated. For they have a huge vested interest in telling themselves they haven't committed a serious wrong,Bartricks

    Let me translate. I have a vested interest in being right, so that proves I'm wrong. Argue the argument. It's the rational thing to do.
  • T Clark
    4.8k
    I would argue that antinatalists like Andrew4Handel @Bartricks and myself are to a large extent caring about other people, by wanting to prevent their suffering and de facto forced sutuations. If life is not a paradise, should we be creating more beings who not only suffer, but are often self-aware of their own suffering? Even if you don't agree, there is a goal of preventing negatives, and violating dignity of the potential person, so that is "other" centered, it's just that its counterintuitive because the compassion for that potential person manifests in the advocacy for their prevention of being born.schopenhauer1

    This is basically the message of every argument you ever make, every post you ever post. I've gone through it with you several times. I'll never convince you. You'll never convince me.
  • Isaac
    4.2k
    It will definitely take more than one generation. — Isaac


    No, it will not, not for trees.
    James Riley

    Really? You think we could repair the damage we've done to an ecosystem like the rainforest in less than one generation?

    If we'd simply do nothing except get out of the way, nature will both resew and tend itself. But if we want to do a favor for succeeding generations of people, then, rather than sewing the succeeding generations of people we could sew succeeding generations of trees in the areas that we've destroyed and then get out of the way.James Riley

    I don't think you've quite grasped the nature of habitat restoration. Sowing (or planting) is really very low down on the list of jobs that would help. Land needs to be legally protected, markets for unsustainable resource extraction overturned, illegal activity prevented, pollution reduced, climate change reversed...

    extinction of homo sapiens might be an attractive option for nature,James Riley

    I can't think why, homo sapiens has managed to have minimal impact for the first few hundred thousand years of our existence. I don't see anything inevitable about our current destructive spree.

    That population will be way more than enough to tend, and even more effective in doing so, if it isn't saddled with the teaming hoards.James Riley

    Agreed. But the OP isn't suggesting we should have fewer children, it's suggesting there's no good reason to have them at all.
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    My questions too. IIRC, it has something to do with Platonic form (or Kantian categories of reason) or some such.
  • James Riley
    317
    Really? You think we could repair the damage we've done to an ecosystem like the rainforest in less than one generation?Isaac

    If we plant the trees and get out of the way (i.e. don't cut the down again because our numbers demand the resource) then yes. No doubt.

    I don't think you've quite grasped the nature of habitat restoration. Sowing (or planting) is really very low down on the list of jobs that would help. Land needs to be legally protected, markets for unsustainable resource extraction overturned, illegal activity prevented, pollution reduced, climate change reversed...Isaac

    Two points: Here is where we've got our disconnect. You were thinking of trees metaphorically, as a representation of all our damage/repair. I was talking about trees. Secondly, even applying the tree example to all restoration of other damage (burial of toxic waste, etc.) my proposal stands if we bring our population back to a sustainable level (I suggested, above, 35 people per 10k square miles) then the repair would take care of itself. You don't need to legally protect anything if it's protection is part of the ethic. Laws are only needed to reign in the wayward children who externalize their costs. Markets go away when there is no demand. Illegal activity is absorbed (like the wolf pack that over kills the pray base). And climate change: That brings us back to the trees and our getting out of the way (i.e. stop pumping shit in the air).

    I can't think why, homo sapiens has managed to have minimal impact for the first few hundred thousand years of our existence. I don't see anything inevitable about our current destructive spree.Isaac

    I think original sin was domestication of species. Maybe agriculture, but that is neither here nor there. I'd say the burden is upon you and your next generation to show the continuation of the current spree is not inevitable. If we don't correct, we will be corrected.

    Agreed. But the OP isn't suggesting we should have fewer children, it's suggesting there's no good reason to have them at all.Isaac

    There isn't a good reason, at least as far as nature is concerned. The only reason is our own subjective reason, and that has yet to be proven as an objectively good reason. I have some thoughts about what we do contribute, and what our animal peers might think of us, but that is beyond the scope of this thread.
  • 180 Proof
    3.1k
    Someone as learned as you would know that our brains are pattern-detecting meat machines.
    Yeah, and I've said as much to you here (below) and on other threads.

    Please read my reply to unenlightened.
    I'll let @unenlightened sort you out ...

    Don't cherry-pick to occlude me, Fool, answer:
    The "default stance" comes from humans being probability / change-blind and intentionality-biased. We fill in the gaps with intentional/causal stories by default. Btw, what's the PSR for the PSR? What's the cause for every cause? Why everything has to have a why?180 Proof
  • Isaac
    4.2k
    If we plant the trees and get out of the way (i.e. don't cut the down again because our numbers demand the resource) then yes. No doubt.James Riley

    How would that repair the damage? Large canopy trees take hundreds of years to grow so the ecosystem would certainly not be 'repaired' within one generation, just no longer being destroyed.

    You were thinking of trees metaphorically, as a representation of all our damage/repair. I was talking about trees.James Riley

    No, I was talking about trees too. Literally. They plant themselves, have done for millennia. It's those other issues which are the problem.

    if we bring our population back to a sustainable level (I suggested, above, 35 people per 10k square miles) then the repair would take care of itself.James Riley

    Maybe, if we did so instantaneously, but since that's impossible without genocide, doing nothing (no inter-generational projects) in the meantime would lead to a massively impoverished environment for those 35/10k^2, which would take many hundreds more years to recover than it would if, rather than ignore it, we protect what we have whilst such a reduction in population density was slowly enacted. Walking away is not the best way to do that.

    I'd say the burden is upon you and your next generation to show the continuation of the current spree is not inevitable.James Riley

    Indeed.

    There isn't a good reason, at least as far as nature is concerned.James Riley

    Reasons are not the sorts of things which concern nature in any case.

    The only reason is our own subjective reason, and that has yet to be proven as an objectively good reason.James Riley

    What would an "objectively good reason" be? What would the truthmaker of 'Good' be objectively?
  • James Riley
    317
    How would that repair the damage? Large canopy trees take hundreds of years to grow so the ecosystem would certainly not be 'repaired' within one generation, just no longer being destroyed.Isaac

    I'm not quite sure where you got the idea that the repair needs to be complete within one generation. Just no longer being destroyed will aid in the repair.

    No, I was talking about trees too. Literally. They plant themselves, have done for millennia. It's those other issues which are the problem.Isaac

    That's the point. I was not talking about those other issues. You were. I was talking simply about trees and you took that and ran with it to other non-tree damage/repair considerations.

    Maybe, if we did so instantaneously, but since that's impossible without genocide, doing nothing (no inter-generational projects) in the meantime would lead to a massively impoverished environment for those 35/10k^2, which would take many hundreds more years to recover than it would if, rather than ignore it, we protect what we have whilst such a reduction in population density was slowly enacted. Walking away is not the best way to do that.Isaac

    I disagree. Doing nothing (i.e. stopping the damage) would aid in the recovery of biodiversity much faster than our active assistance in the recovery while burdened with a gradual reeducation in our population. And there need not be any genocide if we put our dicks back in our pants and left them there.

    What would an "objectively good reason" be? What would the truthmaker of 'Good' be objectively?Isaac

    That's Christopher Stone's ontological problem. But as you've agreed, nature doesn't concern herself with such things. If our goal is to create a self-sustaining, habitable planet, the expert need only be left to her own devices. Our help is a hinderance if we must drag our baggage along on the project. Pack light, and don't add more mouths to feed.
  • Tom Storm
    714
    Essentially you are saying you want to create the suffering subject so that they can be the hero of enduring that suffering.schopenhauer1

    I have no problem with the creation of suffering as you describe it.

    Anti-natalists are just mass murderers who don't like to see blood.
  • James Riley
    317
    Essentially you are saying you want to create the suffering subject so that they can be the hero of enduring that suffering.schopenhauer1

    I'm curious if animals matter. If they do, don't they suffer? And if so, should we roll them into the mix and help them stop breeding/suffering?
  • Albero
    90
    from the arguments I’ve seen, animals only “matter” in the equation if your antinatalism is purely based on a hedonic output (suffering outweighs pleasure) But not all antinatalists accspt this line of ethics. Animals suffer yes, but their suffering is a lot different than human suffering. The pessimist can point out that animals aren’t self reflective, they don’t need to constantly strive, and many animals like cows or gorillas can sit around for long hours simply “not doing” when most humans can’t (maybe monks can but that takes the tons training). The question remains whether these things are truly bad for humans, but it allows the antinatalist to steer clear of “annihilate all nature” that some people accept.
  • James Riley
    317


    Thanks. This is my first exposure to a philosophical analysis of antinatalism.

    Just as a nit-picker though, it would seem to me that a lack of self-reflection, no need to strive, etc does not necessarily equate to an animal's suffering being a lot different than ours. So the antinatalist is not yet off the hook. The suffering could remain the same. Or, who knows, maybe it's worse.

    That is all assuming animals don't self reflect (what are they doing with all that idle time chewing cud?) and maybe, like the monk, their lack of striving has been arrived at by means other than being innate to their species.

    I'm wet behind the ears on this one, but it is interesting to me.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k
    I act on my deeming as I suppose you act on yours. What other course do you suggest - that i act on yours and you on mine?unenlightened

    Well, the deeming is on behalf of the future person. Why not go with the minimum amount of harm? Why create the suffering/overcoming-suffering game for them?
  • Albero
    90
    Yeah exactly, we just don't know. I do know there has been talk of inviting transhumanist David Pearce here. He is a non academic philosopher, but he's written quite a bit on negative utilitarianism (basically hedonic based antinatalism) and a lot of what he says has to do with nature and how ugly it is. There's a lot of sciency talk about the neurology of animals, insects, fish, and other creatures, how they perceive suffering, and what this means for negative aggregate ethics. If you asked Pearce, it seems he really does buy into the whole "it would be great if we bulldozed all of nature instantly" but since that's not happening, he advocates that technology should eliminate pain in nature entirely. If you ask me, wild animal suffering never concerned me that much, and I think Pearce sounds like he's caught up in too much wacky sci-fi optimism, but if you're interested in this it's worth checking out
  • James Riley
    317


    Thanks for the leads. I've had a lot of thoughts running around the old brain pan on the animal thing all my life. It will be interesting to see the thoughts of those who have actually thought about it with a more analytic thoroughness.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k
    My questions too. IIRC, it has something to do with Platonic form (or Kantian categories of reason) or some such.180 Proof

    Yes, Platonic forms. Then how did THAT get into the equation with Will?
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k
    I have no problem with the creation of suffering as you describe it.Tom Storm

    But that is exactly the position that AN would say is not acceptable in terms of not creating unnecessary suffering on behalf of someone else. Why create unnecessary suffering on behalf of someone else then? Any answer seems to be overlooking the person that will experience this suffering for something other.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k

    @Albero already pretty much answered it how I would.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.5k
    I don't give a fuck.Tom Storm

    Not much of a philosophical case, but I see you have made your personal stance known.
  • Albero
    90
    correction: looks like Pearce himself is active on here. I think his AMA is on going
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.5k
    I feel that doing something without a good reason or doing something for a bad reason is nihilistic.

    For example my parents are religious and I grew up in a fundamentalist hell and damnation household.

    I left Christianity at 17 and discovered biblical contradiction in my early 20's. I feel my parents brought us up in a cult based on false beliefs. I think (as I am trying to pursue in another thread) that it is possible to critique peoples beliefs and reasons and find them wanting or problematic.

    What I think is nihilistic is the thought that humans are wandering around living based on false beliefs, unconcerned, when their lives are therefore meaningless. The meaning is just an illusion they have created but is falsified under examination.

    The only thing I can think of that might make me consider creating a child is if life had a meaning and purpose. Even then I would balk at causing suffering to another person.
  • Tom Storm
    714
    Not much of a philosophical case, but I see you have made your personal stance known.schopenhauer1

    We've already discussed the issues. I am now at the don't give a fuck point. Nothing wrong with that.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    I think this is at the heart of it. I can see your opposition to having children includes rational reasons, but, based on the quoted text, it also includes a lot of resentment.T Clark

    No, resentment plays no role at all. But, even if it did, that's to focus on my motives and not the quality of my arguments (something you seem unable to avoid doing). Note as well that it is question begging, as resentment is an appropriate attitude to adopt towards acts that have wronged one. So if it is wrong to procreate, then it appropriate to resent the fact that one's parents have subjected one to a life.

    I recognize that questioning a persons motives is not a valid argument, but you're the one who started it.T Clark

    I don't think you do recognize that at all, as you did it in the preceding sentence! (See above) But just to be clear: you started it when you said that the thought of me having kids made you shudder. That's a personal slight, not a rational consideration.

    So far as I can see you have not have advanced any argument at all. I, on the other hand, have.

    It is widely recognized that it is wrong, other things being equal, to do things to others without their prior consent. We ask people if they'd like a coffee, we don't ram one down their throat.

    There are lots of exceptions. But the exceptions aren't arbitrary. They seem invariably to be cases where a person is unable to consent and furthermore not doing the thing in question would most likely result in them coming to serious harm. That is, it doesn't seem sufficient that the act will benefit the person. If the person can't consent to what you're proposing to do, then the default is you are not morally permitted to do it unless that's the only way to prevent this person from coming to a serious harm.

    Acts of procreation clearly involve doing something to someone else without their prior consent, for none of us have asked to be born.

    Is it an exceptional case, though? No, for although we can't consent to be born, not bringing us into being here can't reasonably be considered to be something that would likely result in us coming to serious harm. For either we do not exist prior to birth, in which case our non-existence poses no risk of harm to us. Or we do exist prior to birth, but given our total ignorance of what pre-birth life is like, we are not entitled to assume that it is any worse than life here. Either way, procreative acts come out as acts that we are not morally entitled to perform.

    That's just one of a whole battery of arguments that can be made for the antinatalist conclusion.

    What have you got?
  • TheMadFool
    9.1k
    Reason =

    1. Cause - I yawn because I am tired.
    2. Motive - I go to bed to get some rest.
    3.Justification - if I rest I will be less tired and more able to explain things.
    4. Function - rest allows the body to repair itself.

    You equivocate the various meanings and confusion results. This thread is about "arguments". It's the first word of the title. So it is not about causes, or motives or functions, it is about justification.

    The cause of having children is usually fucking.
    The motive is usually that people like fucking and like children.
    The function of children is to continue the species.
    The justification for having children is that life is a good.

    The justification in this case does not amount to an argument, it is a mere dogma. but it's as near as I wish to get. Someone will press me, and I will admit that suffering is good, because suffering is part of life. And then if someone pursues the matter I will have to stray from the topic and discuss the relation of pain to suffering. My children will suffer, and they will die. We all do. I see it and say 'yes'.
    unenlightened

    I'm not equivocating. To the extent that I'm aware I haven't made an argument in which I switch the meaning of "reason" from purpose/function to something else in my premises.

    Function/purpose is a good basis for justifying existence. For instance, the existence of colorful flowers is justified by its function/purpose which you already know is insect pollination. A similar function/purpose-based argument can be made for having children. A counterargument, however, maybe grounded in suffering - an inevitability of life.

    As for the motive for having children, it'll depend on the analysis of the various arguments made by natalists and antinatalists and seeing which side makes the best case for itself.

    Coming to cause of children, only a fool would argue against f**king being the culprit and, if you really think about it, sex, since it's one of the most pleasurable activities people can engage in, seems highly apposite to the matter of why we should procreate. It's just too much fun.

    The "default stance" comes from humans being probability / change-blind and intentionality-biased. We fill in the gaps with intentional/causal stories by default. Btw, what's the PSR for the PSR? What's the cause for every cause? Why everything has to have a why?180 Proof

    I already gave you my views on that. It's obvious that the natural world is filled with objects and phenomena that have reasons with respect to their existence and states. To illustrate what I mean, take the seeds in a sunflower - they're arranged in spirals that follow the golden ratio (1.1618...) because that way the flower can maximize the number of seeds per flower. This is just one example of countless many occasions when nature behaves in a certain way for a reason. It's not gonna take long for people to go from that to the PoSR.
  • Tzeentch
    987
    YOU deem it as a good thing, should another be the recipient of your preference, especially if the consequence is a whole lifetime of unknown variations on a theme of possibilities of suffering?schopenhauer1

    I act on my deeming as I suppose you act on yours.unenlightened

    Is what one deems to be good a justification for making major decisions on behalf of another?

    If so, why?
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