• Bartricks
    5.5k
    There are numerous arguments that imply the antinatalist conclusion. This one is distinct from the consent argument though. One is guilty of using another person when one does not get their prior consent to their participation in your project. And so I agree that parents are guilty of treating another as a mere means when they procreate. And that's sufficient, probably, to show such acts to be wrong.
    But that argument applies even if one's act will confer on the one who is created a harm free life of happiness. That is, one can be guilty of using anotehr even if one does not deprive them of anything they deserve.
    So this desert-based argument is different. It supplements the consent argument, but is distinct from it.

    According to this desert-based argument, innocent persons deserve more than this world can offer. They deserve to have an entirely harm-free life, for an innocent person deserves no harm at all. Clearly the world does not offer that, and thus those who procreate are doing a great wrong: they are creating an injustice. Furthermore - and I don't need this additional claim, though I think it is true - an innocent person deserves a positively happy life. And this too is not something this world can offer.

    Typically those who procreate think they have done their offspring a huge favour. This is a big mistake. They have created a huge debt that they can't possibly discharge.
  • Janus
    12.6k
    :up: The nail has been hit!

    The question was whether an innocent person deserves to come to harm. And the answer is 'no'.Bartricks

    Accepting for the sake of argument that innocents do not deserve to come to harm, it does not follow that they deserve to be harm free either. They do not deserve anything; if deserving is a valid notion at all, then deserving consists in being entitled to what one has earned, and being innocents they have not earned anything.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    And an innocent person 'just is' a person who does not positively deserve to come to harm.Bartricks

    I think you're confusing the notion of legal innocence - of not having committed a crime - with an existential question - what is the cause of the suffering and harm that all humans are susceptible to.

    If your logic followed, then no harm would happen to anything that was born - including animals, who are also innocent by the same criteria. So you're arguing for more than 'anti-natalism', you're actually arguing that existence is evil. (Hey that's why Schopenhauer1 likes your post!)

    Innocent = not guilty of a crime or offence.
    "the prisoners were later found innocent"
    Similar:

    2. not responsible for or directly involved in an event yet suffering its consequences.
    "an innocent bystander"
    noun
    1.a pure, guileless, or naive person.

    2.
    a person involved by chance in a situation, especially a victim of crime or war.
    "they are prepared to kill or maim innocents in pursuit of a cause"
  • punos
    129
    I think Artificial Intelligence is another stage in the evolution of the universe. Humans may be edged out by AI 'persons.'Jackson

    Funny you mentioned that because i think that is exactly correct.
  • punos
    129

    Some of the early gnostics were antinatalist, mostly i think because they thought it evil to trap a soul or spirit in a physical prison like a flesh body.
  • Bitter Crank
    11k
    Who is being tedious?


    I am not against antinatalism. From a practical POV, it would help our environmental problems a great deal if far fewer people had been born in decades past. But arguing the merits of antinatalism is a bit like arguing the merits of homosexuality. One IS a homosexual or one is not. Logic has nothing to do with it. One IS an antinatalist or one is not. I do not believe people embrace antinatalism because of compelling argument. They embrace antinatalism because of compelling experience.

    The logic of antinatalism has to begin with some assertion that life is too unsatisfactory to bring more people into the world. Yes, I do think that life is unsatisfactory in many ways, which a personal judgement. "Too unsatisfactory to bear children" is a also a personal judgement call and the logic follows from there.

    Shouldn't logic begin with a fact rather than a personal judgement? Unpleasant Pain is a necessary part of life. Existence means painful unpleasant experiences. Not bearing children prevents more humans from painful unpleasant experiences.

    What is more compelling: One's nightmare experiences in childhood and adolescence that led one to decide to not parent a child, or a logical argument?
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    Pay attention, @Bartricks
    Accepting for the sake of argument that innocents do not deserve to come to harm, it does not follow that they deserve to be harm free either. They do not deserve anything; if deserving is a valid notion at all, then deserving consists in being entitled to what one has earned, and being innocents they have not earned anything.Janus
    :100:

    I do not believe people embrace antinatalism because of compelling argument. They embrace antinatalism because of compelling experience.Bitter Crank
    :up:
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    Shouldn't logic begin with a fact rather than a personal judgement? Unpleasant Pain is a necessary part of life. Existence means painful unpleasant experiences. Not bearing children prevents more humans from painful unpleasant experiences.Bitter Crank

    But you just made a fact-based argument for AN, no? :D.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    So you're arguing for more than 'anti-natalism', you're actually arguing that existence is evil. (Hey that's why Schopenhauer1 likes your post!)Wayfarer

    Though I tend towards Schopenhauerian Pessimism, this particular AN argument I made earlier doesn't need it. You simply have to agree that harming people unnecessarily and for an agenda (yours, society's, even what you the parent think is the "best" outcome for the child born), is no good/wrong/misguided.

    My argument was:
    I see this more clearly formulated in an argument I've made in the past that goes something like, "If you can't bring a person into a perfect version of their Utopia/Paradise, then it is wrong to bring that person into the world, period".

    Other moral considerations:
    WHY would you bring someone into a world where they would be knowingly harmed? The problem here is that any answer you provide violates some moral intuitions of not using people.

    For example, "Oh well, they NEED to be harmed because X needs to happen (for them, society, for yourself)". A false sense of what YOU think is right for someone else doesn't justify harm.. even if you think that you can do a good job mitigating collateral damage to the person you know you are going to harm. And I would say that this is a violation of using a person, for certain regards (for your agenda/mission/purposes/goals).

    Don't get me wrong. I don't think the potential parents are trying to be nefarious.. I just think that usual instincts of what is wrong are misapplied to this specific case of procreation.
    schopenhauer1
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    Some of the early gnostics were antinatalist, mostly i think because they thought it evil to trap a soul or spirit in a physical prison like a flesh body.punos

    Exactly! But lets not forget, they also believed that there was an escape from that, a higher truth.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    they also believed that there was an escape from that, a higher truth.Wayfarer

    But to bring someone into the world just to gain a higher truth is using/harming them unnecessarily for an/your agenda.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    You simply have to agree that harming people unnecessarily and for an agenda (yours, society's, even what you the parent think is the "best" outcome for the child born), is no good/wrong/misguided.schopenhauer1

    You can observe that being born inevitably entails suffering, without necessarily agreeing that it negates the entire process, that it would have been better never to have occured. Besides, it's too late for that. As I think Schopenhauer saw, we are 'condemned to exist', until such time as we disentangle ourselves from the blind force that keeps driving that existence.
  • punos
    129


    The point of procreation is to continue the species, and to evolve. All the potential harm, or problems the child might face in this world is part of the evolutionary pressures of the selection process.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    You can observe that being born inevitably entails suffering, without necessarily agreeing that it negates the entire processWayfarer

    This is no difference then "The ends justifies the means".. You get to harm people because YOUR ends matter. And of course YOUR ends are sacred and MUST occur. Right?
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    You simply have to agree that harming people unnecessarily ... is no good/wrong/misguided.schopenhauer1
    I agree 'harming existing people unnecessarily' is wrong.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    All the potential harm, or problems the child might face in this world is part of the evolutionary pressures of the selection process.punos

    This is the naturalistic fallacy. Just because of "evolutionary pressure" doesn't mean we MUST decide to go along with that pressure (whether cultural or somehow preference).
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    'Harming actual people unnecessarily' – I agree is wrong.180 Proof

    Gee whiz, what is the outcome of procreating someone? Is it, wait, an actual person?
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    But to bring someone into the world just to gain a higher truth is using/harming them unnecessarily for an/your agenda.schopenhauer1

    That is based solely on your conviction there isn't one.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    That is based solely on your conviction there isn't one.Wayfarer

    I mean, the argument goes:
    "Don't use people for an/your agenda". Using them here would be harming them unnecessarily. Why would you harm someone unnecessarily? For your goal/agenda of course. And I am very much assuming there is one when someone has a child. Accidents are plain old negligence, also to be avoided of course.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    I feel like I'm playing speed chess: antinatalism edition :lol:.
  • punos
    129
    doesn't mean we MUST decide to go along with that pressureschopenhauer1

    That is true, but in that case that genetic line or species gets eliminated. That someone or an entire species decides not to procreate indicates that it is not viable, and thus self selects for exclusion.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    That is true, but in that case that genetic line or species gets eliminated.punos

    So? No one has an obligation to a species, but a person(s).

    That someone or an entire species decides not to procreate indicates that it is not viable, and thus self selects for exclusion.punos

    That is simply a fact, not a moral claim.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    That is true, but in that case that genetic line or species gets eliminated.punos

    Darwinian evolution is not an existential philosophy.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    @Wayfarer, I guess I'll rephrase it to fit your more Idealism leanings..

    If no person was ever born, would there be a need for release (ala gnostics, Buddhists, Schopenhuarean ascetics, etc.)? So for us, for sure too late.
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    Gee whiz, what is the outcome of procreating someone? Is it, wait, an actual person?schopenhauer1
    Yeah, it is. And THEN as much as possible, however, do not harm that (any) existing person unnecessarily. As you say, schop1, 'to be born is necessarily to be harmed (i.e. to suffer).' Harm / suffering is existential facticity, not itself morally wrong; what is, in fact, morally wrong is 'voluntarily increasing and/or neglecting unnecessary harm to an existing person'.
  • Wayfarer
    16.3k
    So for us, for sure too late.schopenhauer1

    But the way to cut the Gordian knot is not by kvetching about it. As some wise sage said, 'the only way out of it is through it'.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    Yeah, it is. And THEN as much as possible, however, do not harm that (any) actual person unnecessarily. As you say, schop1, 'to be born is necessarily to be harmed (i.e. to suffer).' That harm / suffering is existentially facticious, not itself morally wrong; it is 'voluntarily increasing and/or neglecting actual harm unnecessarily to an actual person' which is morally wrong.180 Proof

    I don't know @Bartricks claim actual makes sense then to your argument.. An innocent person then doesn't deserve harm, but they will be harmed. So that bypasses your poor reasoning in that quote.

    But even without that, you are willingly creating the situation whereby someone WILL BE harmed. If you think that they will have a charmed life then you are empirically wrong... Though I guess you can make a broader case that induction itself is just not founded (pace Hume), but that's a different argument.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.4k
    But the way to cut the Gordian knot is not by kvetching about it. As some wise sage said, 'the only way out of it is through it'.Wayfarer

    That has too much of a teleological claim for my liking. Like we have to be here to go through it. Rather, we were placed here and we have to go through it or die. Well, we die either way.
  • 180 Proof
    9.4k
    But even without that, you are willingly creating the situation whereby someone WILL BE harmed.schopenhauer1
    "The situation" is existence itself prior to anybody "willingly creating". 'Someone will always be harmed' – because there will always be someone else and because existence necessarily harms existing persons. "Not procreating" doesn't change that fact. Want to do the right thing morally? Do not unnecessarily harm any existing person. :death: :flower:
  • punos
    129
    So? No one has an obligation to a species, but a person(s).schopenhauer1

    Some people feel an obligation to the species (Elon Musk for one), and some don't.

    That is simply a fact, not a moral claim.schopenhauer1

    I'm not too keen on the moral angle, but the facts i think should inform one's morals.
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