• AmadeusD
    2k
    This is an extremely unserious objection.

    "Nothing" excludes boredom or stasis. Clearly. So, not sure how you think I would respond, but im laughing.
  • QuixoticAgnostic
    57
    I regrettably can't argue too strongly against the imposition of will against potential humans argument. The only way I can logically get around it is if the parents had altruistic motivations for creating a child, like wanting to allow a child to experience the joys of existing, and if existence itself wasn't inherently burdensome, as it seems to be, even by the most optimistic of folks. I suppose I'll continue to hold the stance that anti-natalism is a rational position, but one that I simply don't feel compelled enough to act in accordance with. Although, now that I think of it, I think I may agree for the previous reason that natalism is ethically questionable, but that life and existence isn't inherently bad or suffering, because I think suffering can be overcome, even if it isn't right to impose it on a potential human.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    My argument against antinatalists -- you're still here, so you think Life is worth living. The end. Just a bunch a weak individuals who don't want to hold themselves accountable for their life sucking.Vaskane

    Antinatalism is not promortalism. It's a strawman. Antinatalism is about not creating new life, not about whether, once born, it is moral or "worth it" to continue.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    It's about "whaa my parents had no right to give birth to me." Well, they did, get over it.Vaskane

    That can be said about literally any moral topic- not well-thought out or philosophical. Very internet trolling though, so not surprised on an internet forum...

    And they drone on and on about how shitty life is, fact is they're just cowards who actually can't embrace nothing, once they've already tasted life. They want life to end AFTER theirs runs to completion. Like a Last Man. Pathetically dissonant.Vaskane

    Fear of death/dying is not cowardly, nor again, has it to do with antinatalism. Think of better arguments.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Except that's literally the argument here.Vaskane

    Dude, saying "Well they did it get over" can be inserted against any claim against an ethical rule. Someone murders someone or steals.. "Well get over it" is not an answer to whether it was ethical to murder or steal. You don't get that?

    If you want the end of the human race, by all means, put your money where your mouth is and lead by example.Vaskane

    So this is just an ad hominem. Why even try?
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    It can, but equating them as the same would obviously be a fallacy of equivocation.Vaskane

    That doesn't make sense and you are just arguing to argue now. Do you have an actual argument or is that it? Because I already said why that can be said about anything, and it can, so what specifically do you have other than hyperbole and ad hominem?
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I'm sure you can think of greater virtues than Sleep.Vaskane
    I wonder if you can think of something interesting to say without taking either my words or Nietzsche's out of context.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/726159

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/772934

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/808366
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    I've no idea what you're talking about or taking issue with.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    And therefore we have metaphysics in order not to despair at the real.

    :death: :flower:

    ... suffering is the crucible in which all great things are born, through overcoming that suffering. Not by avoiding it.Vaskane
    I've neither claimed or implied otherwise. Obviously, as an existential fact, suffering is not avoidable; morally, however, suffering is a reducible exigency, the reason, in fact, for flourishing (i.e. overcoming) by non-reciprocally – non-instrumentally – helping others to reduce, not "avoid", suffering. Of "all great things", human flourishing comes first and last, otherwise the rest (including "great things") are merely decadent detritus. Easy sleep is not proposed by me as a "virtue" but as the daily reward for and restorative of strivings to flourish – even as a measure of good health: eine Ja-sagen zu Leiben. :fire:

    The eternally recurring choice: blue pill (passivity) or red pill (actively affirming there is no ultimate choice: amor fati – what Spinoza calls blessedness) ...
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/726159
  • substantivalism
    242
    A person can also not want to reproduce without being an Antinatalist, and for several reasons. I find antinatalist as people who want to deflect from reasons why they can't actually have kids because it would bring THEM more suffering. They don't want to hold themselves accountable for how they feel. So they say it's immoral instead.Vaskane
    Its the same, I'd say, for every person who considers themselves 'moral' or having fulfilled their moral duties as proven by some 'justification' so that they can take a break to 'live life' as they so desire it (most every person including you and me). Its an ad hoc excuse being masked in rational language to seem more palatable and less emotionally weak as it really is. At least, I speculate as much.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Easy sleep180 Proof

    Unless you have insomnia :snicker:.

    But then, this belies the very point that one even should be in a place where they should be overcoming. One is simply descriptive. Every day is a sort of overcoming of death, if nothing else. But to force others to conform to this system of overcoming- the problem of initiating (this whole system OF) harms on others, is the one at hand.

    Someone ELSE deemed it, that this is "good" (and God said "it was good"). People want to be gods in their decisions that others should even BE overcoming.

    But more likely, people don't think that grandiosely. Rather, if they are benevolent (and not just capricious or cruel), they are thinking of some positive outcomes, usually selfish vision of future familial X. If it is for someone else's "sake" (the future person born), it might be simply thinking of the good things that might occur. The negatives get downplayed. At worst, it is used as an excuse as it is seen as necessary for the good. Even if we were to say that is a true statement, "That good comes from struggle", that belies the question of whether one should force others to endure the struggle. That will always recenter the question, and not let the issue at hand slip away.
  • QuixoticAgnostic
    57
    Surprised you engaged with him as long as you did. But also, do you mind giving your opinion on this point I made earlier: Even though it may be wrong to introduce life, because you are forcing them to bear the burden of suffering, that doesn't imply that life itself is inherently suffering. Perhaps thats a strawman though to say the antinatalist claims life is just or predominantly suffering. In fact, this may be in favor of your point that, for the people living, there's no urgency to end your own life because there is still value to be had in it. But just because there is value, that may not outweigh the prevalence of suffering, nor the nonconsensual thrusting of children into potential suffering.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    I think Vaskane is in a trough at the moment. Regularly devolving into a pissing match with himself. Last time he did this he apologised directly to me.

    Might be worth allowing it to pass.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    In the original position, you are asked to consider which principles you would select for the basic structure of society, but you must select as if you had no knowledge ahead of time what position you would end up having in that society. This choice is made from behind a "veil of ignorance", which prevents you from knowing your ethnicity, social status, gender and, crucially in Rawls' formulation, your or anyone else's idea of how to lead a good life. Ideally, this would force participants to select principles impartially and rationally.Veil of Ignorance

    If this was applied to antinatalism, imagine a prospective parent/society is behind the veil of ignorance. They would not know what position any potential child will occupy, what their quality of life will be, their potential for suffering or happiness, or their genetic/biological predispositions.

    Rawls' Veil of Ignorance (aka Original Position) asks us to consider the full range of possible lives a new person could lead. This includes the best possible scenarios as well as the worst- thus extreme suffering, disabilities, mental illness, or life in poverty and conflict, amongst a whole host of other negatively balanced lives.

    Since behind the veil, individuals do not know if their offspring will be born into a life of mostly joy or mostly suffering, they must weigh the potential risks of severe harm and suffering against potential benefits of a good life.

    Combining this with Benatar's asymmetry, it may be rational to view the prevention of harm as a greater moral priority than the creation of happiness, especially when consent cannot be obtained.

    Thus, under the veil of ignorance, where the outcomes of a new life are unknown, the ethical priority of avoiding potential harm and respecting the impossibility of obtaining consent presents a strong argument against procreation.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k


    An inversion is occurring where consent becomes more fundamental than life. A similar inversion occurs where the justification of society displaces Rawls' question of how best to order society. The problem is that life is the precondition for consent, and is therefore prior to consent. Making consent the summum bonum is therefore misguided from the start. Either God or Nature proves that consent does not deserve the highest place, for it simply does not occupy the highest place. These sorts of arguments look to be a critique of reality, and are incompatible with an acceptance of reality. I suppose one could argue that consent should precede life, but at the end of the day the simple fact of the matter is that it doesn't.

    The variant on Rawls' argument is somewhat interesting: negative utilitarianism in the service of antinatalism. "I should not have a child if they will suffer much." Meh. I don't think life is ultimately about the avoidance of suffering any more than I think life is ultimately about consent, and I have found that those who are excessively focused on such things tend to lead impoverished lives. I'd say life is bigger than suffering or consent.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    An inversion is occurring where consent becomes more fundamental than life. A similar inversion occurs where the justification of society displaces Rawls' question of how best to order society. The problem is that life is the precondition for consent, and is therefore prior to consent. Making consent the summum bonum is therefore misguided from the start.Leontiskos

    I never understand these kind of criticisms. It reminds me of "If a tree falls in the woods.." arguments. One can say this about ANY moral claim. For example, if no humans were around, there would be no need for morality regarding murder. THUS, how can murder be wrong (whether through consent, rights, dignity of the human, or other normative ethic) if the norms behind "Murder is wrong" do not exist prior to the existence of humans?

    Obviously this is fallacious thinking. Rather, we can simply say that "Once humans DO exist, then 'Murder is wrong' comes into play". The same with procreation. Once humans DO exist, then "Procreation is wrong" comes into play. I don't see it being more complicated than that. ALL moral claims presuppose "life" (people) exist(!) in the first place.

    These sorts of arguments look to be a critique of reality, and are incompatible with an acceptance of reality. I suppose one could argue that consent should precede life, but at the end of the day the simple fact of the matter is that it doesn't.Leontiskos

    Same critique so I am moving on.

    The variant on Rawls' argument is somewhat interesting: negative utilitarianism in the service of antinatalism. "I should not have a child if they will suffer much." Meh. I don't think life is ultimately about the avoidance of suffering any more than I think life is ultimately about consent, and I have found that those who are excessively focused on such things tend to lead impoverished lives. I'd say life is bigger than suffering or consent.Leontiskos

    I think this is throwing out a lot of important values we hold in other arenas. For example, if as a consenting adult I force you into a game you don't want to play because I think the game is bigger than any one individual's refusal, that seems mighty suspicious. And I am talking personal ethics here, which procreation (should) fall under. I do believe there is a discontinuity with the State/political ethics, but that is a different argument, which I can bring in if you want to make the category error of using laws like the draft, education compliance, and inoculations.

    I also think it is a bit of a red herring to compare it to parental care of children under a certain age (often 18 yo). That is because usually the care is about preventing more harm in the future for that child, where this very specific/unique kind of decision is creating all of the potential harm in the first place. These are two different types of decisions regarding consent. At this point since someone DOES exist, it would be more harmful NOT to take care of them, as now you are not recognizing the rights of the child who does exist already, to be cared for, being that they have not fully developed into fully functioning adults yet, and had no say to be born in the first place. Presumably babies and children have a right not to be abandoned, neglected, or abused, for example, which is a different (positive/must do ethics) consideration rather than the (negative/NOT doing) ethics of simply not causing harm in the first place. One is palliative (as someone already exists and is exposed to great harms), and one is preventative (in the absolutist terms).
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    If this was applied to antinatalism, imagine a prospective parent/society is behind the veil of ignorance.schopenhauer1

    This doesn't make sense. How could I have a child without knowing the social conditions into which it would be born? If I were the King of Philosophy, I would outlaw thought experiments.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    This doesn't make sense. How could I have a child without knowing the social conditions into which it would be born? If I were the King of Philosophy, I would outlaw thought experiments.T Clark

    Just curious, do you know of Rawls' Veil of Ignorance regarding justice and rights? If so, can you see how there can be a direct analogy between the use in the equality sense for a moderate social democracy to understanding that a person's life could be of any condition?

    Also, just factually speaking, no person's life can be predicted through simply contemplating it, or taking one's own circumstance as the template for how other people will live.

    Imagine if I were to predict all sorts of things based on my understanding of what I think you would like.. But I forced it on you forever lest you kill yourself. Such an odd position to defend. But you will say the same for mine, simply because it is not widely considered or understood, not because it isn't sound.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    do you know of Rawls' Veil of Ignorance regarding justice and rights?schopenhauer1

    I've heard of it only in the quote and link you provided. As described there, as I noted, it does not apply to antinatalism, since when I choose to have a child I do know the kind of life it is likely to live. My wife and I wouldn't have had children if we didn't think we could give them a good life.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    I've heard of it only in the quote and link you provided. As described there, as I noted, it does not apply to antinatalism, since when I choose to have a child I do know the kind of life it is likely to live. My wife and I wouldn't have had children if we didn't think we could give them a good life.T Clark

    As I said earlier, it is just factually the case you can never know the kind of life your child will have accurately. That is epitome of hubristic thinking. Any number of factors including health issues, accidents, societal/environmental changes can effect a person negatively and was not accounted for in the prediction. It has been well-documented how when we are in our "happiest states" (which is often the case of young couples who start developing a long-term relationship, or simply sexual relations leading to accidental pregnancy), we are often at our worst state of predicting all the negative things that can occur (Pollyannaism).

    Also, personal decision-making process of a single couple is presented here as a rebuttal to a broader philosophical position. This is a case of confirmation bias and overconfidence in predictive ability of a complex situation (every single experience of a lifetime's worth of experiences of a person).
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    We all have to be born and have to live before we can stumble upon the idea of anti-natalism. Seems self-defeating to think much of it. Trying to subvert the nature that brought us to this idea.

    If life is ever good enough to allow one to ponder whether to have a child, life must be good enough for the child just the same.

    If life is so bad to ponder whether to have a child, don’t have a child. But should no one be allowed to have a child? Death is still coming for all so what does it matter if you do or do not have a child? No one, not even your children (if you have any) are going to be there long enough to justify any judgment of it.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    We all have to be born and have to live before we can stumble upon the idea of anti-natalism. Seems self-defeating to think much of it. Trying to subvert the nature that brought us to this idea.Fire Ologist

    I believe I just answered this objection:
    I never understand these kind of criticisms. It reminds me of "If a tree falls in the woods.." arguments. One can say this about ANY moral claim. For example, if no humans were around, there would be no need for morality regarding murder. THUS, how can murder be wrong (whether through consent, rights, dignity of the human, or other normative ethic) if the norms behind "Murder is wrong" do not exist prior to the existence of humans?

    Obviously this is fallacious thinking. Rather, we can simply say that "Once humans DO exist, then 'Murder is wrong' comes into play". The same with procreation. Once humans DO exist, then "Procreation is wrong" comes into play. I don't see it being more complicated than that. ALL moral claims presuppose "life" (people) exist(!) in the first place.
    schopenhauer1

    If life is ever good enough to allow one to ponder whether to have a child, life must be good enough for the child just the same.Fire Ologist

    How does that logic follow? What happens if life was really bad but one still pondered whether to have a child.. Someone in a terrible circumstance let's say. It is simply false that all circumstances thinking of procreation entails one is in a good place. Also, even if one was in a good place whilst thinking about procreation, why would that effect the morality of the decision of creating suffering for another person?

    But should no one be allowed to have a child? Death is still coming for all so what does it matter if you do or do not have a child? No one, not even your children (if you have any) are going to be there long enough to justify any judgment of it.Fire Ologist

    That makes no sense. For example, if someone is suffering in agony, that person isn't going have such a carefree outlook. However, one doesn't even need to go to the worst outcomes, just the fact that you are making a decision for someone else who will live out the burdens, is enough to give pause.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    just the fact that you are making a decision for someone elseschopenhauer1

    Having a child, feeding a child, etc. are as much making a decision for someone else as deciding not to have a child, or aborting a child.

    If it is good to have no children because life is suffering, than life isn’t all bad since we get to make this good decision to have no children. Aren’t we brave and honest and considerate. Such wonderful compassion for the suffering of future generations - we should build ourselves some statues for thinking so compassionately and reasonably so that all future generations will remember our sacrifices. Oh wait.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    If it is good to have no children because life is suffering, than life isn’t all bad since we get to make this good decision to have no children. Aren’t we brave and honest and considerate. Such wonderful compassion for the suffering of future generations - we should build ourselves some statues for thinking so compassionately and reasonably so that all future generations will remember our sacrifices. Oh wait.Fire Ologist

    I see your attempt at irony. Nice, I like irony. But since it really doesn't have an impact on the argument, I don't have much more to say to it. If no one was around to gain the benefits of non-existence, shall we create sufferers so that they can see how they would have benefited from non-existence? That would also be ironically wrong.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    Nice, I like irony.schopenhauer1

    Then why not have kids. Life is good too.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Then why not have kids. Life is good too.Fire Ologist

    Because causing suffering is more important than not promoting good.
  • LuckyR
    394
    If it is good to have no children because life is suffering, than life isn’t all bad since we get to make this good decision to have no children.


    From a more practical standpoint, if a prospective parent is either 1) so depressed that they (incorrectly) view their life (since they have no true knowledge of the subjective assessment of life by others) as pure suffering or 2) their is actually so materially terrible that it is in reality pure suffering, then neither of those situations is optimal for childrearing, thus that individual or couple definitely should not have children. However, that individual's situation is absolutely not a reason for anyone else to not have children.
  • T Clark
    13.1k
    it is just factually the case you can never know the kind of life your child will have accurately.schopenhauer1

    That's very different from a "Veil of Ignorance." If it only means that the we can't predict the future perfectly accurately, then it's kind of a useless concept.

    Also, personal decision-making process of a single couple is presented here as a rebuttal to a broader philosophical position.schopenhauer1

    No, it's not just a single couple. It's reasonable to say that any prospective parent can know their future child's ethnicity, social status, and their idea of how to lead a good life with reasonable accuracy.

    To be clear, I'm not arguing against anti-natalism here, although you know I find the idea repugnant. I'm only arguing that your logic is flawed.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    I never understand these kind of criticisms. It reminds me of "If a tree falls in the woods.." arguments. One can say this about ANY moral claim. For example, if no humans were around, there would be no need for morality regarding murder. THUS, how can murder be wrong (whether through consent, rights, dignity of the human, or other normative ethic) if the norms behind "Murder is wrong" do not exist prior to the existence of humans?

    Obviously this is fallacious thinking. Rather, we can simply say that "Once humans DO exist, then 'Murder is wrong' comes into play". The same with procreation. Once humans DO exist, then "Procreation is wrong" comes into play. I don't see it being more complicated than that. ALL moral claims presuppose "life" (people) exist(!) in the first place.
    schopenhauer1

    No, that's not what I am saying. Your premise is <Consent should precede birth>. Your conclusion follows, <Because consent does not precede birth, therefore we should not procreate>. This precedence is both temporal and ontological. It is that premise that I am targeting. Consent doesn't precede birth. Birth precedes consent. That's how reality works. What you are doing is asking for or wishing for a different reality. The ontological principle of reality is that we receive before we give. Your alternative principle would have us give (consent) before receiving (existence).

    Antinatalism reminds me of Gnosticism, where nature and the material world were created by an evil god and one is thus supposed to escape this entire order of being. Or in modern terms, something like The Matrix. The true god is represented by Consent, and in the alternative, non-evil universe, Consent reigns. Given our gnostic situation, the best we can do is escape the material order by ceasing all procreation. Historically gnostics really did tend to eschew procreation.

    (Edit: I now see you have authored a thread, "If there is a god, is he more evil than not?" :razz:)

    I think this is throwing out a lot of important values we hold in other arenas. For example, if as a consenting adult I force you into a game you don't want to play because I think the game is bigger than any one individual's refusal, that seems mighty suspicious. And I am talking personal ethics here, which procreation (should) fall under.schopenhauer1

    I think consent has a place, but not the highest place. It does not trump everything else.

    I also think it is a bit of a red herring to compare it to parental care of children under a certain age (often 18 yo).schopenhauer1

    But I never made that comparison...?
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    That's very different from a "Veil of Ignorance." If it only means that the we can't predict the future perfectly accurately, then it's kind of a useless concept.T Clark

    No, it means that from a position of ignorance we should do the LEAST amount of harm. And our disagreement is over how ignorant we truly are over a complex situation like a person's psychological, physical, interpersonal, and emotional well-being over the course of a lifetime.

    No, it's not just a single couple. It's reasonable to say that any prospective parent can know their future child's ethnicity, social status, and their idea of how to lead a good life with reasonable accuracy.T Clark

    It is true that many decisions are made based on prevailing social norms, but this does not elevate these norms to the status of ethical imperatives. The is/ought problem remains central here: the fact that something is commonly done does not mean it ought to be done. The ethical implications of bringing a child into the world must be scrutinized independently of societal conventions, and this scrutiny reveals the inadequacy of current norms in addressing the potential for harm and suffering.

    To be clear, I'm not arguing against anti-natalism here, although you know I find the idea repugnant. I'm only arguing that your logic is flawed.T Clark

    When it comes to making decisions for another person, procreation is unlike any other decision. It imposes an irreversible existence and all its accompanying burdens onto another being without their consent. This is different from other decisions we might make for someone else’s perceived benefit, as those typically allow for some form of redress or agency by the affected individual. Comparing it to a gift is illustrative: a gift can be accepted, rejected, or discarded with minimal consequence. Procreation, however, imposes life, with all its inherent suffering and challenges, making it a decision of an entirely different kind AND magnitude.

    We are not ignorant that suffering will occur- but we are ignorant as to the manner it will take shape.

    Hubris is a source of a lot of well-intentioned but misguided ideas.
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