• darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    1. A good life is worth living; conversely, a bad life is not worth living.
    2. One should only procreate if one can have reasonable knowledge that their offspring will have a good life.
    3. It has not been established what the possibility of a good life is. The most that may be said is that there are lives, and that some lives are better than others.
    4. It is unlikely that such a possibility of a good life will ever be established, given the lack of consensus so far.
    5. Therefore, is it not possible to determine if ones' offspring will have a good life that is worth living.
    6. Therefore, there is a possibility that ones' offspring will not and in fact cannot have a good life.
    7. Therefore, one should not procreate.
  • James Riley
    1.7k
    a bad life is not worth living.darthbarracuda

    I disagree. So the rest of it falls away.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    And you are free to disagree with that premise, though I haven't a clue why you would.
  • James Riley
    1.7k
    I haven't a clue why you would.darthbarracuda

    Embrace the suck!
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    The hypothesis of what constitutes a good life from a bad one is too vague to evaluate or determine for the rest to follow.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    I might add an additional premise: a bad life is whatever is not a good life; the set containing the attributes of a good life is finite, while the set containing the attributes of a bad life may be described as the difference, or defined negatively (that which is not in the set of the attributes of a good life).

    But regardless, your objection fails to refute point 5.
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    But regardless, your objection fails to refute point 5.darthbarracuda

    Point 5 demands a necessary conclusion to allow it to hold true, which has not been specified. However, the fact that some people with 'bad lives' turn out to have children with good lives disproves this necessary premise.
  • James Riley
    1.7k
    One of the other limitations I perceive in the line of reasoning is an apparent requirement for guarantees. Does there have to be an absolute guarantee that I child's life will be good before bringing it on? Can't we have some Vegas odds?

    And what of hope? Is hope not a consideration? For instance, the only reason many people with bad lives don't kill themselves is that nagging hope which runs contrary to all experience to date.
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    the set containing the attributes of a good lifedarthbarracuda

    What are those?

    the set containing the attributes of a bad lifedarthbarracuda

    And what are those?
  • Outlander
    1.3k
    1. A good life is worth living; conversely, a bad life is not worth living.darthbarracuda

    For how long, is the real question

    2. One should only procreate if one can have reasonable knowledge that their offspring will have a good life.darthbarracuda

    Humans, to my knowledge, thankfully, don't have enhanced abilities like the one you describe, so, you're a proud antinatalist it would seem. Good for you. Variety is the spice of life.

    As to the rest.. uh, sure. Why not. You seem educated enough to raise a kid that doesn't grow into a malfeasance. Or even better, to fight the scourge of them. So why don't you.
  • DingoJones
    2.5k
    A good life is worth living; conversely, a bad life is not worth living.darthbarracuda

    Premise 1 here is too vague for a first premise, it allows too much wriggle room for your other premises to make a really effective argument. I think with more details premise 1 will fail and the argument collapse.
    What is it that constitutes a “bad life”? How are you defining what a bad life is?
  • darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    The ambiguity of what either one is, is part of the argument (points 2 & 3). We can say some things about what a good life is (that it is worth living). We can also say that a good life is a unity of certain things, and that this unity is not found in a bad life. The fact that we cannot come to a consensus as to what that unity amounts to is the main thrust of the argument.
  • James Riley
    1.7k
    Having argued that a bad life is worth living, I wanted to play the devils advocate and argue that a good life is not worth living. This made me ask questions about the word "worth." To say a good life is "worth" living is like saying a loaf of bread is worth $1.00. There is a price to be paid. The price for a loaf of bread is $1.00. The price for a good life is living. Thus, living, like a $1.00, is the value to be paid. Ergo, living has value. Living is what you pay for a good life. Apparently you would not give up living for a bad life because a bad life is not worth living. So you keep your living and refuse to trade it for a bad life. Embrace the suck and tell a bad life to go fuck itself. You simply will not trade living for a bad life. It's your living. Keep it.
  • Janus
    10.7k
    We can say some things about what a good life is (that it is worth living).darthbarracuda

    From the fact (if it is a fact) that a good life (however we might conceive of that) is necessarily worth living, it does not follow that a bad life is not worth living. Even if a bad life is defined as being completely devoid of any pleasure whatsoever for the one living it, and even if we accepted the stipulation that a life completely devoid of the slightest pleasure for the one living it is not, on that account alone, worth living, such a life may bring pleasure to others, making it worthwhile for other reasons.
  • DingoJones
    2.5k
    The ambiguity of what either one is, is part of the argument (points 2 & 3).darthbarracuda

    I know. Premise 1 is vague, and that vagueness is what the rest of your argument depends on. Thats my point, this is an ambiguity fallacy that you are using in your argument.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    A good life is worth living; conversely, a bad life is not worth living.darthbarracuda

    Yeah... I can't get past premise one. What's a good life? What's a bad life? Also I'm not trying to be a dick but what does 'worth living' mean? Do you mean by this that if you have a bad life you may as well die (suicide, I presume)? I don't think it is possible to determine what a life worth living actually means except in the extreme. Some might think it would be superb to live as Mick Jagger, for instance. I'd rather be dead. :gasp:
  • khaled
    3.1k
    It has not been established what the possibility of a good life is. The most that may be said is that there are lives, and that some lives are better than others.darthbarracuda

    So you want a percentage chance? Assume we can somehow do that. At what percentage change of having a good life does having kids become ok? 51%? 75%? 99%? 100%?

    It’s not really uncommon in day to day life to be unsure of the chances something will hurt someone and to do it to them anyways.

    For instance: Your whole argument can be repurposed to argue against sending people to school. Mostly just replace “life” with “school life” and “procreate” with “send kids to school” with a few more minor tweaks. Seeing as I doubt you consider sending people to school wrong, the argument must not be valid.

    Worst part is it can also be used to argue FOR sending people to school by pointing out that not doing so is a risk, and that we need to be sure before taking risks with others. It just leads to paralysis.
  • Hermeticus
    58


    1. See the problems that have been pointed out already. Good and bad are far too subjective to serve as a reasonable premise for a generalized statement.

    2. Disagree. Of course it's in the best interest of a parent to give the best possible basis for their offsprings life - but ultimately having "a good life" lays in the responsibility of the child, just like I am responsible for having a good life for myself.

    3. The good-life/bad-life problem applies here as well. Furthermore, the possibility of good life is not something determined by fate before birth. Circumstances dramatically affect us but ultimately it's our actions that lead to a good or bad life.

    4. See 3

    5. See 2

    6. See 3

    7. See 2
  • I love Chom-choms
    48
    I don't understand what is so hard to understand what @darthbarracuda meant.
    1)I think what he is saying is that a parent would want his child to have a good life. You don't need to define a good or a bad life, all you need to accept is that there is a good life and there is a bad life, you only need to acknowledge their existence. As for what is a good life? The answer to that question is in a further point.
    2) Now he argues that one should only procreate if they can guarantee that their child will life a good life with certainty.
    3) Now, @darthbarracuda argues that it is impossible to know what a 'good' life is. The most a person can say is that some lives are better than others, like we can say that Trump live a better life than a slum-dweller in Africa does, but that doesn't mean that Trump lives a good life. We know that Trump lives a good life but not whether he lives a good life or not.
    4) He now argues that such a proper definition of a good life won't ever come because people would not and probably never agree on a definition of "good" life.
    5) Since there will never be a uniform standard of 'good' and 'bad', therefore it is impossible to determine your child will live a 'good' or a 'bad' life.
    6) I am not exactly sure what he means by this line, so just be aware of that: What he probably is saying that if you cannot know whether your child will live a good live there is a possibility that he might live a bad life.
    Now what I don't understand is what he means when he is saying," [...]in fact cannot have a good life."
    Just that is the part that I don't understand but if we accept what he is saying to be true then,
    7) One should not procreate because he argued, above, that the only time one should procreate is when the parent is sure that his/her child will live a good life. Now he has shown that it is impossible to know whether your child will have a good live and even further that, "ones' offspring will not and in fact cannot have a good life." So now, we lose all our incentive to procreate and thus it is wrong to have children.
  • Albero
    123
    I know that many academic philosophers will hate me for this but this is why I think the idea of a “good life” is very much subjective. A lot of the problems of this will go away if you just replace “have babies if you have reasonable knowledge of a good life” with “reasonable knowledge they’d enjoy life”. It’s true that a “good life” is still a debated topic but we know for sure that many are likely to enjoy it
  • schopenhauer1
    6k

    Sure!
    6. Therefore, there is a possibility that ones' offspring will not and in fact cannot have a good life.
    7. Therefore, one should not procreate.
    darthbarracuda

    So, I actually think this kind of argument has the broadest basis and appeal in terms of arguments for antinatalism. I'll make a distinction between AN arguments that are universally true (of all humans) and the statistical- those that are at least true some of the time (for some humans).

    It is harder to prove the universal- that causing any amount of (unnecessary and non-trivial) harm for a future person is wrong (even though I think there is a very strong defense of this ethical premise). However, it is much easier to prove the statistical. At least SOME humans will have bad lives. Combining the fact that you can't know whether your child will be in the "bad lives" category, and the premise that it is not good to create unnecessary, non-trivial suffering on another's behalf, it would seem that the lack of knowledge of the conditions/circumstances/experiences/evaluation of the future child, should make one refrain from bringing this situation about for another person. I know Benatar is not loved in these parts, but his point about the asymmetry is pertinent. Even if a "majority" claimed to live good lives, the absence of their good lives doesn't matter, morally. The tragic is the activated "bad lives" not the prevented "good lives". Prevented harm seems to always be good while prevented good seems to matter not a penny since that seems to be only relevant when "that" person actually exists (and is deprived).
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    From the fact (if it is a fact) that a good life (however we might conceive of that) is necessarily worth living, it does not follow that a bad life is not worth living. Even if a bad life is defined as being completely devoid of any pleasure whatsoever for the one living it, and even if we accepted the stipulation that a life completely devoid of the slightest pleasure for the one living it is not, on that account alone, worth living, such a life may bring pleasure to others, making it worthwhile for other reasons.Janus

    @darthbarracuda

    This would not work if you are not a utilitarian. Using people's suffering (by knowingly creating a life that could be bad) for this kind of ends would be wrong to a deontologist, period.
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    I know. Premise 1 is vague, and that vagueness is what the rest of your argument depends on. Thats my point, this is an ambiguity fallacy that you are using in your argument.DingoJones

    Yeah... I can't get past premise one. What's a good life? What's a bad life? Also I'm not trying to be a dick but what does 'worth living' mean? Do you mean by this that if you have a bad life you may as well die (suicide, I presume)? I don't think it is possible to determine what a life worth living actually means except in the extreme. Some might think it would be superb to live as Mick Jagger, for instance. I'd rather be dead. :gasp:Tom Storm

    I think @darthbarracuda is saying that it can be subjectively defined. Whatever is bad to that person is bad. If that person thinks their life sucks, then it sucks. I am working on a definitional model for what an objective "harm" might look like, but for the sake of DB's argument, subjective definition would work. The container of what makes a "bad life" needn't be more than what is experienced or evaluated by the person with the "bad life".

    As for Tom Storm's idea about "worth living".. It would seem that since DB is dealing with the idea of procreation he is really intending to say, "worth starting".. A bad life (one that is subjectively so let's say), was not worth starting for that person. So your critique is just a confusion on this or an intentional ignorance of sorts to derail the major point.
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    So you want a percentage chance? Assume we can somehow do that. At what percentage change of having a good life does having kids become ok? 51%? 75%? 99%? 100%?

    It’s not really uncommon in day to day life to be unsure of the chances something will hurt someone and to do it to them anyways.
    khaled

    But you know my response and probably something @darthbarracuda might say (not sure).. that starting a life is one of the only cases where amelioration doesn't come into play (ameliorating a greater harm/imposition/burden with a lesser harm/imposition/burden). Hence why I try to use the idea of "Not creating the conditions of "unnecessary" non-trivial harm on another's behalf."
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    1. See the problems that have been pointed out already. Good and bad are far too subjective to serve as a reasonable premise for a generalized statement.Hermeticus
    @darthbarracuda
    Why would subjective/objective affect the argument? Either way it works for what bad entails.

    2. Disagree. Of course it's in the best interest of a parent to give the best possible basis for their offsprings life - but ultimately having "a good life" lays in the responsibility of the child, just like I am responsible for having a good life for myself.Hermeticus

    But the ability not to even "play" the game of "living a good life" is not on the table (lest the painful prospect of suicide). And not all things are in the child's hands.. Genetics, cultural practices, contingent circumstances of disposition, disease, cause/effect, etc.. Either way, even IF it was ALL up to the child and they simply made bad decisions, the outcome is the same (bad life).

    3. The good-life/bad-life problem applies here as well. Furthermore, the possibility of good life is not something determined by fate before birth. Circumstances dramatically affect us but ultimately it's our actions that lead to a good or bad life.Hermeticus

    Says you.. But again see response to 2.
  • schopenhauer1
    6k
    1)I think what he is saying is that a parent would want his child to have a good life. You don't need to define a good or a bad life, all you need to accept is that there is a good life and there is a bad life, you only need to acknowledge their existence. As for what is a good life? The answer to that question is in a further point.I love Chom-choms

    I didn't read this first before I started making arguments.. I could have just said "read I love Chom-choms point 1!

    2) Now he argues that one should only procreate if they can guarantee that their child will life a good life with certainty.I love Chom-choms

    Yep..

    7) One should not procreate because he argued, above, that the only time one should procreate is when the parent is sure that his/her child will live a good life. Now he has shown that it is impossible to know whether your child will have a good live and even further that, "ones' offspring will not and in fact cannot have a good life." So now, we lose all our incentive to procreate and thus it is wrong to have children.I love Chom-choms

    Great analysis. You made a good point that I didn't emphasize, which is that @darthbarracuda was emphasizing the epistemological not knowing of what even a good or bad life even is.
  • khaled
    3.1k
    And you know my response to that. There are countless situations in real life where amelioration doesn't come into play either. Surprise parties and all. Do you really want to do this again? I don't like keeping two threads going with the same person.

    Your response to this was: "Yea but that's trivial imposition". And now we're trying to determine what exactly counts as trivial or non trivial imposition.

    I just find it really curious that any time I reply to you it's all "stop arguing for the sake of arguing you debate class bot" but here you are restating the same response...
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    As for Tom Storm's idea about "worth living".. It would seem that since DB is dealing with the idea of procreation he is really intending to say, "worth starting".. A bad life (one that is subjectively so let's say), was not worth starting for that person. So your critique is just a confusion on this or an intentional ignorance of sorts to derail the major point.schopenhauer1

    No, it's just that we don't all see the world in simplistic 'worth living' or 'not worth living' arbitrary categories, nor do we all see a clear way in which to determine these ideas except by more extreme examples.
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