• schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    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>.Leontiskos

    But that's not what I am saying. Rather, if a human exists, then consent towards other humans is on the table.

    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).Leontiskos

    This all follows from a faulty view of my premise.

    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.Leontiskos

    I kind of like this notion, though I don't hold "Consent" to be independent of humans, simply entailed in humanity. If there is no humanity, consent disappears as well.

    Also, this particular argument is a bit different than just consent. Rather, it is saying that since we are IGNORANT as to how any person's life truly will play out in the course of their lifetime, AND we cannot get consent otherwise, we should do the option that is with the intention of the LEAST harm, which is of course, not even procreating that person who will be harmed to X degree.

    That they will be harmed is generally not questioned. To what extent, and by what right is what is at stake here.

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

    Ha, well, look at my profile for a better understanding of my overall philosophical position. And Gnosticism is mentioned, but as an analogy to Philosophical Pessimism, not, obviously, as a belief in it as a wholesale mystical/ontological belief system.

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

    But this also relies on what "the good" is, and defines it in "negative" terms (what not to do). Suffering is weighted more heavily in this conception such that, causing negative/suffering unnecessarily on someone else's behalf is weighted as a bigger moral consideration than any of the positives that result from causing the suffering. Not causing great distress to someone is a bigger ethical consideration than say, buying them cake.

    There's another argument here to be made from this, but I am not making that case right now. Though all of it basically can be tied together to make for a compelling set of arguments from various angles contra procreation.
  • T Clark
    13.1k


    You didn't respond to my argument. The argument you make here is your usual one and has nothing to do with a veil of ignorance. No reason to take this any further.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    You didn't respond to my argument. The argument you make here is your usual one and has nothing to do with a veil of ignorance. No reason to take this any further.T Clark

    What isn’t answering your supposed objection of my use of VOI?
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    Also, this particular argument is a bit different than just consent. Rather, it is saying that since we are IGNORANT as to how any person's life truly will play out in the course of their lifetime, AND we cannot get consent otherwise, we should do the option that is with the intention of the LEAST harm, which is of course, not even procreating that person who will be harmed to X degree.schopenhauer1

    Okay.

    I kind of like this notion, though I don't hold "Consent" to be independent of humans, simply entailed in humanity. If there is no humanity, consent disappears as well.schopenhauer1

    Sure.

    But this also relies on what "the good" is, and defines it in "negative" terms (what not to do). Suffering is weighted more heavily in this conception such that, causing negative/suffering unnecessarily on someone else's behalf is weighted as a bigger moral consideration than any of the positives that result from causing the suffering. Not causing great distress to someone is a bigger ethical consideration than say, buying them cake.schopenhauer1

    Okay, so maybe something like this?

    1. Do not cause suffering, absent consent
    2. Procreation causes suffering, and does not admit of consent
    3. Therefore, do not procreate

    Thus consent functions as an exception to the prohibition on suffering, but does not apply in the case of procreation.

    I would appeal to a similar "inversion" argument to the one I already gave, but focusing on suffering rather than consent. Just as consent does not constitute an absolute principle, neither does suffering-avoidance. "I'd say life is bigger than suffering or consent."

    The key here is that birth/existence is qualitatively different from, and ontologically prior to, consent and/or suffering. More directly: life is more than the avoidance of suffering, and therefore the desire to avoid suffering is not a sufficient reason to nix life.

    Regarding the moral maxim of (1), I think it would apply to procreation in a very dire apocalyptic scenario, but I don't think it applies more generally throughout history. I don't know... There are a lot of different ways one could go with this.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    There's a problem with (1). People found guilty of crimes have a lot of suffering inflicted on them without their consent, so sometimes it's OK to cause suffering absent consent. Or did the prisoner consent to his punishment by virtue of living in a society with laws, maybe?

    ChatGPT is pretty impressive:
    Reveal
    Can you think of any counterexamples to the maxim "Do not cause suffering, absent consent"
    ChatGPT
    The maxim "Do not cause suffering, absent consent" is a foundational principle in ethics and moral philosophy, often associated with the concept of autonomy and the importance of respecting individuals' rights and choices. However, there are situations where this maxim may face challenges or counterexamples:

    Emergency Situations: In cases of emergency where immediate action is necessary to prevent harm, such as administering medical treatment to an unconscious person, causing temporary suffering without explicit consent may be justified to save their life or prevent further harm.

    Parental Authority: Parents often make decisions on behalf of their children, such as vaccinations or medical procedures, without their explicit consent. While parents are expected to act in their child's best interest, these actions may cause temporary suffering.

    Paternalism: In some cases, individuals may act in what they perceive as the best interest of others, even if it causes temporary suffering, without obtaining explicit consent. This concept, known as paternalism, can be controversial as it overrides individual autonomy.

    Legal Punishment: In the context of legal punishment, individuals may experience suffering as a consequence of their actions, such as imprisonment or fines, without their explicit consent. This raises questions about the balance between justice and the prevention of suffering.

    Animal Welfare: The maxim primarily focuses on human suffering but may not directly address the suffering of non-human animals. Actions that cause suffering to animals for purposes such as scientific research or food production may occur without their consent.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    There's a problem with (1). People found guilty of crimes have a lot of suffering inflicted on them without their consent, so sometimes it's OK to cause suffering absent consent.RogueAI

    The question is then whether these exceptions to (1) apply to the case of procreation. For example, we can cause suffering absent consent when punishment is due, but is punishment due in the case of procreation?
  • Fire Ologist
    349


    life is more than the avoidance of sufferingLeontiskos

    Says it all for me on this question.

    Anti-natalism doesn’t save anyone in particular from suffering. We are not doing anyone any good by not procreating. There has to be a someone to prevent someone from suffering. Life is ontologically prior as Leontiskos said.
  • RogueAI
    2.6k
    The question is then whether these exceptions to (1) apply to the case of procreation. For example, we can cause suffering absent consent when punishment is due, but is punishment due in the case of procreation?Leontiskos

    It depends on what kind of life you expect your kid to have. If there's a 99% chance your child will die an excruciating death by the time they're ten, then you probably have a duty not to have a kid.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    I would appeal to a similar "inversion" argument to the one I already gave, but focusing on suffering rather than consent. Just as consent does not constitute an absolute principle, neither does suffering-avoidance. "I'd say life is bigger than suffering or consent."

    The key here is that birth/existence is qualitatively different from, and ontologically prior to, consent and/or suffering. More directly: life is more than the avoidance of suffering, and therefore the desire to avoid suffering is not a sufficient reason to nix life.

    Regarding the moral maxim of (1), I think it would apply to procreation in a very dire apocalyptic scenario, but I don't think it applies more generally throughout history. I don't know... There are a lot of different ways one could go with this.
    Leontiskos

    So the case is really best exemplified by David Benatar's asymmetry argument that is now more widely known than when I used to discuss it.

    However, I don't want to get caught in the weeds of that particular version of the argument. I think it is best reformulated clearly as this:

    Preventing happiness is less a moral obligation than preventing suffering. All things being equal, in the case of non-consent, and ignorance (like this Veil of Ignorance argument is saying), it is always best to prevent suffering, even on the behest of preventing happiness.

    The fact is, this is from the perspective of the decision-maker. That SOMEONE exists who can understand what will result is all that matters, not that the subject of the action exists.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Anti-natalism doesn’t save anyone in particular from suffering. We are not doing anyone any good by not procreating. There has to be a someone to prevent someone from suffering. Life is ontologically prior as Leontiskos said.Fire Ologist

    But I think I answered that objection from @Leontiskos. That is to say, all that matters is that humans exist for this to take place. No humanity, no need for antinatalism or any other normative ethical principle. The principle doesn't come first. IF humanity exists, the morality of being human applies. IF people exist, and the decision is about making another suffer or preventing it, then this applies.

    Also as indicated, and I went into more detail here on...

    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).
    schopenhauer1

    See about the difference between palliative and preventative ethics. Procreation is in the realm of preventative ethics, not palliative. AND it would be wrong to make a preventative situation turn purposefully into a palliative one.. I can prevent harm, but I cause it, so that you now need to mitigate it.. That isn't right...
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    No humanity, no need for antinatalism or any other normative ethical principle.schopenhauer1

    But if the reason to promote antinatalism now while there is humanity is that It is the ethical thing, and its goal is no humans, then “No humanity, no need for antinatalism or any other normative ethical principle.”

    Meaning, what is the point of being ethical towards beings that aren’t born yet, if ethics itself is not to be? Why would we humans uphold any ethics above upholding the procreation of more humans, if upholding that ethics means that humans and ethics both equally should no longer be?

    Antinatalism is just as much an anti-ethicalism.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Meaning, what is the point of being ethical towards beings that aren’t born yet, if ethics itself is not to be?Fire Ologist

    This doesn't make any sense to me. We are not living for ethics. Ethics is present because humans are around.

    Why would we humans uphold any ethics above upholding the procreation of more humans, if upholding that ethics means that humans and ethics both equally should no longer be?

    Antinatalism is just as much an anti-ethicalism.
    Fire Ologist

    Ethics simply is entailed if humans exist. We aren't living to carry out ethics, ethics is carried out because we are living. It is actually precisely CONTRA a notion that we are obligated in some "positive" (must do) sense. That is to say, there is more obligation to prevent suffering (a negative ethic), than to promote happiness or any X "other" beholden reason. That is to say, if there was a case whereby my action results in an unknown amount of suffering, and I can't get consent beforehand, and the effect is not only trivial, but major (though this part is not even necessary to state), that is more relevant than the unknown amount of happiness that might result as well from this action.

    **excuse my constant affect/effect errors.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    So the case is really best exemplified by David Benatar's asymmetry argument that is now more widely known than when I used to discuss it.schopenhauer1

    I think Benatar's argument avoids the question of whether life or existence is good.

    Preventing happiness is less a moral obligation than preventing suffering. All things being equal, in the case of non-consent, and ignorance (like this Veil of Ignorance argument is saying), it is always best to prevent suffering, even on the behest of preventing happiness.schopenhauer1

    There persists the conflation between the ontological and the "moral" (in the modern sense). It is the difference between preventing something and preventing the potential/potency for that something. To prevent the potential for X will also prevent X, but it is not the same thing as simply preventing X. One could prevent their child from getting smallpox by having no children or by vaccinating the children they do have, but these two options are not parallel. The obligations with respect to each are somewhat different.

    Is Thanos from The Avengers a good example of an antinatalist? Specifically, a Thanos who snaps his fingers and everyone disappears without pain, not just half of them? No suffering + no potential for suffering = perfection. The theological gnosticism crops up its head again here, for the gist is that it would have been better for nothing at all to exist. I don't think the theological or metaphysical shift is avoidable given that your argument pertains to ontological realities and sheer potencies, rather than only to mere "moral" realities. To weigh suffering against life or existence will go beyond the "moral" insofar as evaluations of life and existence do not fall within the "moral" (in the modern sense).

    But the Christian and Platonist traditions have been saying that being and goodness are convertible for thousands of years, and given that the argument does not recognize this seems to imply that it is weighed down by a specifically modern context. Yet to make an argument against life per se or existence per se is to move beyond that modern context.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    I think the argument avoids the question of whether life or existence is good.Leontiskos

    I am not sure what this is supposed to translate to, ethically speaking. It becomes irrelevant given the considerations of suffering prevention being more ethically an obligation than happiness promotion, all things being equal. In fact, if what you are implying here is correct, it is your notion that has some template that people must adhere to assumed to be there prior to birth "The Good". But I am not sure completely what you are implying, so I'd hold judgement. "Life is good" seems a theological statement of some sort.

    There persists the conflation between the ontological and the "moral" (in the modern sense). It is the difference between preventing something and preventing the potential/potency for that something. To prevent the potential for X will also prevent X, but it is not the same thing as simply preventing X. One could prevent their child from getting smallpox by vaccinating them or by having no children, but these two options are not parallel. The obligations with respect to each are somewhat different.Leontiskos

    So as with TClark, this will be a case of how we parse the facts of life. That is to say, I believe it to be the case that it is empirically evident that life has X amount of suffering. Charmed lives don't exist, except in perhaps imagination or thought experiments. And with this particular argument, it is precisely because we are ignorant of what that X entails that we take the route of causing minimum suffering.

    I also see the thread about fate and determinism there is discussion of agency. Clearly, the child did not have to experience any suffering. And this is why Is ay that it is never good to turn a preventative into a palliative purposefully. I don't cause (the conditions for) suffering so that you can take X, Y, Z palliative actions from it. And then I don't gaslight the situation and say that "It is what it is", or that "This is just not a growth mindset". We know that at least certain amounts of suffering, often well-known can and do occur.

    Is Thanos from The Avengers a good example of an antinatalist? Specifically, a Thanos who snaps his fingers and everyone disappears without pain, not just half of them. No suffering + no potential for suffering = perfection. The theological gnosticism crops up its head again here, for the gist is that it would have been better for nothing at all to exist. I don't think the theological shift is avoidable given that your argument pertains to ontological realities and sheer potencies, rather than only to mere "moral" realities. To weigh suffering against life or existence will go beyond the "moral" insofar as evaluations of life and existence do not fall within the "moral" (in the modern sense).

    But the Christian and Platonist traditions have been saying that being and goodness are convertible for thousands of years, and given that the argument does not recognize this seems to imply that it is weighed down by a specifically modern context. Yet to make an argument against life per se or existence per se is to move beyond that modern context.
    Leontiskos

    So you are conflating two arguments into one here. It is precisely because people cannot be consented that this Thanos argument is wrong. Also, once people exist, taking their existence away, is not the same question as bringing people into existence, so should probably be thrown out as some sort of counterpoint. There's too many differences.

    As to the Christian/Platonist idea of being and goodness, or nothingness and perfection, I do find it intriguing. This is actually touching upon Schopenhauer's notion that we are NOT actually "being" in some rested/Platonic way, but because we are in the world of Maya, we are in the world of "becoming" which by default is always in some way "suffering" as it is a world of dissatisfaction, or lack, or "what we do not have presently and fades away", a world of "vanity", and all such notions. Indeed, there is an argument is precisely this world that we experience that is NOT goodness in any Platonic/completed/perfected sense. And interestingly, mysticism tries to work around this problem by saying that we are trying to "perfect" the world by giving it value and moral meaning (usually by way of enacting various commandments or divine actions upon the world).

    However, though I am glad to discuss these notions, it is tangential to the argument itself which doesn't need the world to have any inherent value per se. Rather, as long as there is suffering (in any sense of that word), and the decision is there, that the moral weight is to prevent suffering more than any other one, including promoting (what one believes to be) good experiences for a person. It creates a baseline set of boundaries, as what people can end up doing is any such harm to a person and justify it in the name of X positive value that they think will result. Rather, if people have inherent dignity and worth, that respect for this boundary would seem to be necessary, otherwise people are perpetual pawns that are to be treated as such.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    We are not living for ethics. Ethics is present because humans are around.schopenhauer1

    Being human (or maybe any being with senses) entails suffering.

    Human beings are inherently ethical beings - the beings whereby ethics exist in the universe.

    And in order for human beings to act according to this ethics that they are, one thing they cannot do is inflict suffering without consent.

    Since we cannot get consent from the unborn, and being born human entails suffering, we should be, we ought to be, anti-natalist. As a result of us currently living, suffering, ethical beings acting as ethical anti-natalists, there will be no more humans, but also no more human suffering inflicted unethically, without consent.

    Am I with you so far?

    However, with no more humans, there will be no more ethics either. As you said “ethics is present because humans are present.” So humans not present (unless some other beings are ethical) means ethics is not present. With anti-natalism, we not only avoid inflicting suffering without consent, we void the ethics that told us such inflictions are wrong.

    So the anti-natalist is saying, in order to abide by the ethical rule now, we must create the conditions where this ethical rule will no longer exist, since humans are the presence of ethics and no more humans will be present. The anti-natalist is saying we should eliminate the existence of the ethical rule for the sake of following the ethical rule. Just like they are saying we should eliminate the possibility of human procreation (end all future humans) for the sake of abiding by an ethical rule that is only found in existing humans. The anti-natalist gets to be the last ethical man standing, and the last instance of ethical behavior anywhere in the known universe.

    The anti-natalist must admit we’ve evolved to a point where we humans inherently posit “should” and “ought” only to take this power and say “I should not have evolved at all because my consent to suffer was not obtained. And since ethics comes to be only through me, a human, ethics ought not to have evolved in the universe either. But then if ethics didn’t exist until I did, how could it have been unethical for me to be born?”

    The fact that the ethics summarized as anti-natalism arises in the human race means the human race must exist for the rule to not inflict suffering to exist, AND the human race should NOT exist because none of our consent to suffering could be obtained.

    (It’s not quite a paradox because it holds “is” together with “ought not”, as opposed to paradoxically joining “is” to “is not” or “ought” to “ought not”, but it is certainly absurd.)

    Anti-natalism is either a self-defeating way of saying, because of human suffering, it would have been better if humans never existed. Or it is simply passing judgment on God, saying God, a being whose mere existence entails ethics (like humans) was wrong to create humans and inflict suffering on them without their consent.

    Absurd or Satanic. Better to rule without humans or their ethics in hell, than to consent posthumously to suffering in heaven.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    So the anti-natalist is saying, in order to abide by the ethical rule now, we must create the conditions where this ethical rule will no longer exist, since humans are the presence of ethics and no more humans will be present. The anti-natalist is saying we should eliminate the existence of the ethical rule for the sake of following the ethical rule. Just like they are saying we should eliminate the possibility of human procreation (end all future humans) for the sake of abiding by an ethical rule that is only found in existing humans. The anti-natalist gets to be the last ethical man standing, and the last instance of ethical behavior anywhere in the known universe.Fire Ologist

    Why should it matter if the ethical rule disappears though? What needs to preserve the ethical rule? The rule comes into play when more than one human is around, and the potential to procreate is there. If there is no potential to procreate, it no longer applies. Why would it matter that the rule gets rid of the application of itself? I don't see the problem.

    Water by itself has no value. But when an animal relies on it, water then obtains some "value" for that creature. If there are no humans, there is no ethics. If there are no humans, there is no thirst either. Thirst exists because humans exist, we don't exist because thirst would cease without humans. That makes no sense.

    But then if ethics didn’t exist until I did, how could it have been unethical for me to be born?”Fire Ologist

    I don't get what you are saying. A lot of people believe honor killing is ethical. Does that mean the first person to question this was wrong because it was a novel idea? Also, before you were born, there was the potential for you to be born. You didn't need to be born for the ethics to be relevant, just the potential for "someone" to be born.

    The fact that the ethics summarized as anti-natalism arises in the human race means the human race must exist for the rule to not inflict suffering to exist, AND the human race should NOT exist because none of our consent to suffering could be obtained.

    (It’s not quite a paradox because it holds “is” together with “ought not”, as opposed to paradoxically joining “is” to “is not” or “ought” to “ought not”, but it is certainly absurd.)
    Fire Ologist

    But it isn't absurd. You are already finding out that your own objection seems to have no impetus. All this is saying is humans can self-reflect which is different than other animals.

    Anti-natalism is either a self-defeating way of saying, because of human suffering, it would have been better if humans never existed. Or it is simply passing judgment on God, saying God, a being whose mere existence entails ethics (like humans) was wrong to create humans and inflict suffering on them without their consent.

    Absurd or Satanic. Better to rule without humans or their ethics in hell, than to consent posthumously to suffering in heaven.
    Fire Ologist

    I have no idea what you're getting at. If humans don't exist, there are simply no people, not some hell. Also, I don't think anyone has called existence "heaven" in any non-ironic way. So, not sure what that's getting at. If you have some unspoken religious biases that you would like to bring up, go ahead.. Your notions start becoming clearer to me if you have some theological reasoning, but it doesn't become more accurate, just explains your frustration perhaps. The "Existence must exist so that we can fulfill whatever X mission" explains some of your implicit confusions and objections and it turns into the old debate of the problem of evil.

    Interesting enough, antinatalism SOLVES a Christian problem by bypassing it. Souls cannot be sent to hell if you do not bear them into existence in the first place. If you didn't do this, of course, you would violate the "be fruitful and multiply", but let's say it was carried out to its logical conclusion and no one existed.. Would more people just be created like Adam and Eve so that they go through this game? Why have the game? What is important about the game? Doesn't it seem a bit anthropocentric? If aliens exist, would their religion reflect a god that has them as the main characters in their own Moral Play? Perhaps they have a similar but not quite the same salvation mythology.. One that precludes humans? :chin:
  • ENOAH
    637
    Given all agree that antinatalism applies uniquely to humans, and the unique human condition (that there is a "condition" most seem to agree; the nature or structure of that condition seems to be in contention) it seems like most people think, once again, that Ethics is the path to the "answer" (to be or not to be). Further, it seems most would say, albeit applying varying degrees of standard of proof, that if adjudged "unethical" antinatalism might be justified.

    But I think ethics is either irrelevant, or is not being applied far enough. From my perspective, if a person, or a generation, is even grossly unethical, the organism and species should not be punished. Antinatalism is unethical itself; a patent example of the arrogance that our constructions have led "us" to. That we are considering sterilization of a living organism, because we can't seem to simply change our ways. Many even blame the body for that: craving, drive, aggression. As if much of the animal kingdom isn't basically variations of us. Our condition; our immoral condition, if that's what we're settled at, is not because our organism is naturally immoral. We constructed immoral in that uniquely human condition, Mind. And we can deconstruct it. We don't have to end an entire species to do so.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    You didn’t really address this:

    “The fact that the ethics, summarized as anti-natalism, [only] arises in the human race means the human race must exist for the rule to not inflict suffering to exist, AND the human race should NOT exist because none of our consent to suffering could be obtained, [must both be true and ethical, is absurd.]
    — Fire Ologist”

    The two sides of the “AND” above defeat each other. So we must exist in order to not exist, by enacting a rule that must not exist unless I exist. This is impossible to live by. I am making a rule that says I should not be making rules.

    Why should it matter if the ethical rule disappears though?schopenhauer1

    Because it undermines its enactment in the first place when it results in no ethical beings.

    If humans disappear because all humans follow the rule, and with humans the rule disappears, then such humans would be being ethical for sake of a world without ethics.

    Maybe it is because of my own limitations that I am suffering to make my point and why I can’t logically show why antinatalist ethics is absurd, but that is because this really boils down to the amount and depth of suffering in the world. If we all thought life was only suffering, and unfulfillable, longing desire, without any satiation or anything else, we would be inventing ethical rules to justify not only antinatalism, but mass suicide, after wars to enforce the ethical rule once and for all (if we weren’t too incapacitated by suffering to act at all).

    But life is not only suffering. We generally don’t think that. At least most of us. Often.

    And some suffering is good (like right now I’m starving and soon I will be eating). “Hunger is the best sauce. The poor always eat well.” - Sancho Panza, Don Quixote.

    It boils down to whether it is absolute that inflicting suffering without consent is always and only wrong. Life is not only the suffering of being wronged, it is also forgiveness. You really can suffer and move away from suffering. There really are both. I will be done eating today. You can give consent after the fact, after you’ve suffered without consent and say “oh well, life goes on.” Because there is not only suffering.

    And it is worth some suffering to force a new life to be hungry once in a while, to work hard once in a while, to struggle and fail, in order to also have bread and achieve success, or just sit down and relax.

    Most real suffering is self-inflicted. We break our own rules all of the time, and shoot ourselves in the foot, just so we can say “see, life is only suffering” to ourselves, regardless of those around us.

    But some of us can sometimes just live life, accepting the suffering, forgiving the inflicters, and see that inflicting this life on another without consent is like giving them a gift, an unexpected, un-consented gift.

    I just disagree it is moral or ethical that we should only focus on the suffering when deciding what world is better for any other people, such as any future generation. We need to see what is good in life just as well before we make out ethics and enact it.

    Antinatalism upholds ethics high above the life and suffering of the human beings it is designed to promote, and this is absurd to me. If there is to be some grandiose place for any such high and mighty ethical laws, such as “thou shalt not inflict suffering without consent,” then there must be humans there to uphold it in that place. Ending humans ends any good ethical laws protect.

    Following our disappearing ethical laws isn’t the only good that is done in the world; life has its own goods just as well.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Because it undermines its enactment in the first place when it results in no ethical beings.Fire Ologist

    Why I don't see the problem. "What" is being undermined if there are no ethical beings? You are making it as if ethical beings are necessary to exist in the first place.

    If humans disappear because all humans follow the rule, and with humans the rule disappears, then such humans would be being ethical for sake of a world without ethics.Fire Ologist

    And the problem is?

    we would be inventing ethical rules to justify not only antinatalism, but mass suicide, after wars to enforce the ethical rule once and for all (if we weren’t too incapacitated by suffering to act at all).Fire Ologist

    But life is not only suffering. We generally don’t think that. At least most of us. Often.Fire Ologist

    I can say that the potential of suffering is always on the table, but that the world isn't constant suffering might be a different standard for things like suicide. Rather, the case isn't being born and leaving, but putting other people into the situation in the first place. I think the AN argument has presented a cogent case against this decision.

    And some suffering is good (like right now I’m starving and soon I will be eating). “Hunger is the best sauce. The poor always eat well.” - Sancho Panza, Don Quixote.Fire Ologist

    Yeah, but this indeed highlights the underlying tension between positive and negative ethics. It would be wrong of me to make you suffer just to overcome the suffering. Rather, it was better you didn't suffer at all. And then when you inevitably tell me, "But the suffering is where the meaning is!" Then I would say that this is misguided. If meaning entails suffering, there are a few things going on:

    1) YOU should not be the arbiter of the suffering. Even if suffering is supposedly "good", it is not ethically encumbent on someone to take it upon themselves to be the executioner of the suffering onto someone else, violating the dignity, consent, autonomy, of a person, and violating the basic principle of "non-malfeasance" towards fellow humans.

    2) Perhaps a world where "meaning" entails suffering, isn't one where it is best to bring someone into in the first place.

    2a) Even more salient, and related to this Veil of Ignorance, we don't even KNOW how much suffering one's life might entail. Let's say you think that 22 is the threshold of suffering any average life should have to endure, because that is the number for "growing".. Well, if someone lives a 47 life, you can never predict that, where the suffering has now exceeded the amount necessary for a balanced, happy life. It is now excessive.

    3) It is aggressively paternalistic to assume for someone else that THEY need to suffer because YOU think there is some "good" to it. Again, it's the ugly side of "positive ethics". We MUST save blank from certain death is a different situation than we MUST create beings that MIGHT experience happy lives. And you add to this that the cost of this is a lifetime of negative experiences, in unknown quantities, enacted without consent, this simply does not have much merit for its assumptions.

    It boils down to whether it is absolute that inflicting suffering without consent is always and only wrong. Life is not only the suffering of being wronged, it is also forgiveness. You really can suffer and move away from suffering. There really are both. I will be done eating today. You can give consent after the fact, after you’ve suffered without consent and say “oh well, life goes on.” Because there is not only suffering.Fire Ologist

    The problem again is with preventative and palliative ethics. In almost every other situation in life, it is a palliative measure.. You temporarily cause discomfort for a child because they need to learn to survive. But not procreating is simply preventing all suffering, period. All things being considered, not causing harm is the ethic that has no need to be violated. There is no one that needs "palliative harm". Rather you are CREATING THE VERY NEED for palliative harm. This is now in the realm of preventative ethics.

    Most real suffering is self-inflicted. We break our own rules all of the time, and shoot ourselves in the foot, just so we can say “see, life is only suffering” to ourselves, regardless of those around us.Fire Ologist

    The point is we need not put other people in this situation in the first place. I don't throw you into a game and say "Tough luck, bitch" and then gaslight you by saying, "Hey it's your fault. I tried to give you tools!". It is actually quite manipulative, what you are suggesting.

    I just disagree it is moral or ethical that we should only focus on the suffering when deciding what world is better for any other people, such as any future generation. We need to see what is good in life just as well before we make out ethics and enact it.Fire Ologist

    Actually, no we don't. Let's say for the sake of argument that both absolute hellish lives and absolute charmed lives are not really existent (though there is way more evidence for more hellish lives).. Even if there was some mix, the "happiness creating" aspect has no bearing if that happiness is also coming with the "gift" of unknown amounts of burdens. There is no amount of paternalistic ethics that can be justified for such hubris.

    Antinatalism upholds ethics high above the life and suffering of the human beings it is designed to promote, and this is absurd to me. If there is to be some grandiose place for any such high and mighty ethical laws, such as “thou shalt not inflict suffering without consent,” then there must be humans there to uphold it in that place. Ending humans ends any good ethical laws protect.Fire Ologist

    You keep claiming this, but for no good reason. Why must there be humans there to uphold it in place?
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    Why must there be humans there to uphold it in place?schopenhauer1

    Because as you said “Ethics is present because humans are around.”
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    Because as you said “Ethics is present because humans are around.”Fire Ologist

    Your argument is something like this:
    "If there are no humans, the ethic cannot be followed".

    My point is, "Correct".

    And you see a problem there, but I don't see where.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    Your argument is something like this:
    "If there are no humans, the ethic cannot be followed".
    schopenhauer1

    No. My argument is if there are no humans around there are no ethics around. Your argument is if the ethics is antinatalism, there would be no humans around. You just just don’t see the absurdity of keeping the ethics in place without the humans to place it there.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    No. My argument is if there are no humans around there are no ethics around.Fire Ologist

    Correct...

    . Your argument is if the ethics is antinatalism, there would be no humans around. You just just don’t see the absurdity of keeping the ethics in place without the humans to place it there.Fire Ologist

    Huh? I am not following.

    If there is no potential for procreation, there is no need for the ethic. Similarly, if there is only one person in existence, there is no need for ethics against murder.
  • Leontiskos
    1.6k
    I am not sure what this is supposed to translate to, ethically speaking. It becomes irrelevant given the considerations of suffering prevention being more ethically an obligation than happiness promotion, all things being equal. In fact, if what you are implying here is correct, it is your notion that has some template that people must adhere to assumed to be there prior to birth "The Good". But I am not sure completely what you are implying, so I'd hold judgement. "Life is good" seems a theological statement of some sort.schopenhauer1

    I think that what is primarily at stake is a "theological" question, namely the question of whether life itself is good or bad, and therefore my response here would be "tu quoque." Your position passes beyond the mere ethical when it comes to depend upon the proposition <Life is evil>. When I respond by saying that life is good, this is not the introduction of a theological proposition, but is rather a theological response to your own theological proposition.

    Now it seems to me that you are committed to the proposition <Life is evil> either via the argument that life has a greater proportion of suffering than happiness, or else via Benatar's argument (or some variant thereof). I don't think it matters a great deal which argument is in play, and therefore whether the evil is conceived of as absolute or relative. Either way the conclusion is <Life is evil, therefore it cannot be chosen (via procreation)>. The shift from a merely ethical frame to a theological frame occurs as soon as life itself comes to bear the property "evil" (or bad, or undesirable). The ethical frame (again, in the modern sense) has to do with choices and ends which prescind from opinions about the goodness or badness of ontological realities themselves, such as life.

    Clearly, the child did not have to experience any suffering.schopenhauer1

    This is a good example of the ethical/theological or act/potency equivocation. The more precise statement is, "Clearly the child did not have to exist, and therefore did not need to experience suffering." To conflate the situation where the child does not have to experience suffering with the situation where the child does not have to experience suffering because there is no existing child to suffer is part of the problematic equivocation. You are not merely proposing removing suffering from a child, you are proposing removing the existence of the child as a means to avoiding that suffering.

    So you are conflating two arguments into one here. It is precisely because people cannot be consented that this Thanos argument is wrong. Also, once people exist, taking their existence away, is not the same question as bringing people into existence, so should probably be thrown out as some sort of counterpoint. There's too many differences.schopenhauer1

    No, not at all, for you have already denied that consent plays a central role in your argument. The Thanos example is apparently apropos. If suffering is the real problem, and life has no intrinsic value, then if Thanos can remove suffering by removing life—without causing suffering in the process—then on your principles he should do so. You relegated consent to a caveat, <1. Do not cause suffering, absent consent>. Because Thanos is not causing suffering consent cannot be relevant. If you reject the Thanos comparison then consent must play a more central role than your defensive argument permits.

    Coming at this from a different angle, if Thanos attempted to obtain consent before snapping each individual out of existence, do you think this attempt would be rationally sound? Does it follow from your argument that consensual euthanization of the entire race is the ideal and rational solution?

    This is actually touching upon Schopenhauer's notion that we are NOT actually "being" in some rested/Platonic way, but because we are in the world of Maya, we are in the world of "becoming" which by default is always in some way "suffering" as it is a world of dissatisfaction, or lack, or "what we do not have presently and fades away", a world of "vanity", and all such notions.schopenhauer1

    Okay, interesting. I will leave this to the side for the sake of time, but it is worth noting that Platonist and Christian schemes allow for a fallen world of cave-shadows.

    However, though I am glad to discuss these notions, it is tangential to the argument itself which doesn't need the world to have any inherent value per se. Rather, as long as there is suffering (in any sense of that word), and the decision is there, that the moral weight is to prevent suffering more than any other one, including promoting (what one believes to be) good experiences for a person.schopenhauer1

    So again, your argument here is bound up with the claim that the world has inherent negative value. More precisely, it is bound up with the claim that human existence has negative value (i.e. is evil). This is in no way tangential. If we remove that premise then your argument disintegrates, does it not?

    It creates a baseline set of boundaries, as what people can end up doing is any such harm to a person and justify it in the name of X positive value that they think will result. Rather, if people have inherent dignity and worth, that respect for this boundary would seem to be necessary, otherwise people are perpetual pawns that are to be treated as such.schopenhauer1

    It's not at all clear to me that your position is the one that favors inherent dignity and worth. To nix life on account of suffering seems to be contrary to notions of inherent dignity. If humans have inherent dignity, then they have it regardless of negative attributes or accidents such as suffering, disability, etc. That is basically the heart of what we mean by dignity, "Even in spite of your inadequacies, your life still has intrinsic value." Suffering is merely one form of inadequacy.

    That is to say, I believe it to be the case that it is empirically evident that life has X amount of suffering. Charmed lives don't exist, except in perhaps imagination or thought experiments.schopenhauer1

    There is the danger here of an argument which proves far too much. Imagine a world where every person suffers a pinprick but no more, and the remainder of their life is pure happiness. Why wouldn't your or Benatar's argument also prohibit procreation in this world? The pinprick of suffering seems to fuel your arguments just as well as extreme suffering. Benatar's asymmetry holds just as well in that case.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    To conflate the situation where the child does not have to experience suffering with the situation where the child does not have to experience suffering because there is no existing child to suffer is part of the problematic equivocation. You are not merely proposing removing suffering from a child, you are proposing removing the existence of the child as a means to avoiding that suffering.Leontiskos

    This seems to be the same problem as Fire Ologist, but a variation. The ethic is on the part of the person enacting the suffering onto the other. At this point, it is not about the "other".

    Let me walk you through some situations. Will you grant me that instead of an existing "person", I can instead use an existing "state of affairs"?

    If you allow me that, we can use the following analogy...

    There is a state of affairs whereby I can put someone in harms way by X action (it need not be procreation).

    The state of affairs does not exist yet, however. You can always say, "How can you prevent a state of affairs that is not existent! That situation has not come about yet.. In fact, we don't even KNOW which person might be harmed by the situation, but we know that in all likelihood, a person WILL be harmed, if YOU (the person who is doing the action) does X".

    In this state of affairs scenario, it is doubtful you will find this thinking absurd. That is to say, just because there isn't a particular person that this state of affairs will affect, doesn't mean we are not incumbent to prevent the situation. All the more so, the more important the harm that will occur, that it can be prevented reasonably easily, etc. etc. So no, I don't see this situation applying.

    If suffering is the real problem, and life has no intrinsic value, then if Thanos can remove suffering by removing life—without causing suffering in the process—then on your principles he should do so. You relegated consent to a caveat, <1. Do not cause suffering, absent consent>. Because Thanos is not causing suffering consent cannot be relevant. If you reject the Thanos comparison then consent must play a more central role than your defensive argument permits.Leontiskos

    I didn't say consent was ONLY necessary when doing harm to someone. In fact, I didn't even mention whether ONCE ALREADY EXISTING, non-existence is or is not considered a harm. You cannot put the genie back. Where as with birth, there is no one that can get consent, NOW someone exists.. The very basis for this kind of deontological basis of ethics (respect, dignity, autonomy, etc.) now applies to a person.

    Coming at this from a different angle, if Thanos attempted to obtain consent before snapping each individual out of existence, do you think this attempt would be rationally sound? Does it follow from your argument that consensual euthanization of the entire race is the ideal and rational solution?Leontiskos

    Well, now you've changed it. If he asked, and everyone consented, ethically speaking, this isn't violating an ethic. Whether this is the right "solution", I don't know, because I don't believe already-existing to be symmetrical for never-existing. In modal thinking, never-existing is simply the potential of something to exist, and the already-existing is the factuality of someone's actual existence. Can it be that once existing, different priorities are considered in regards to harms and goods? Perhaps. For example, I wouldn't recommend forcing X upon someone. But once someone has X done upon them, if it means that they have abc experiences, and they value them, I see no need to get rid of them, unless indeed they thought they were were worthless. So perhaps nothing should have been done to that person, but once it's done, it doesn't take away the value they might have gotten. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. This is a trap many anti-AN arguments fall under. If there is good from a bad, then the bad must not be that bad. That is faulty logic.

    I think also what you are struggling with is that antinatalism tends to be void of a positive value that we must live for. You can try putting in the value of "not suffering", but that doesn't get at it. Rather, we are NOT LIVING for that value, but rather, preventing that negative state of affairs from befalling someone. On the flip side, any other reason to have a child that is not purely a selfish reason by the parent, is one whereby you want the child to LIVE FOR some value, thus violating the non-harm prevention SO THAT they can live out this value. And it would indeed be on the anti-AN to prove that this violation is fine and dandy without just resorting to "It has always been done this way and thus appeal to tradition, yadayada".

    So again, your argument here is bound up with the claim that the world has inherent negative value. More precisely, it is bound up with the claim that human existence has negative value (i.e. is evil). This is in no way tangential. If we remove that premise then your argument disintegrates, does it not?Leontiskos

    No, because you don't need to view the world as evil for this argument, just that preventing suffering is a priority. Tangentially, the world might have inherently suffering, adding to the evidence FOR the suffering of the world though. I refrain from using "evil" though as it sounds like the world is "out to get you", when it could just be an inherent factor of our condition.

    It's not at all clear to me that your position is the one that favors inherent dignity and worth. To nix life on account of suffering seems to be contrary to notions of inherent dignity. If humans have inherent dignity, then they have it regardless of negative attributes or accidents such as suffering, disability, etc. That is basically the heart of what we mean by dignity, "Even in spite of your inadequacies, your life still has intrinsic value." Suffering is merely one form of inadequacy.Leontiskos

    So whilst I agree with what you have said there, the point is that paternalistically making a decision on behalf of someone to not prevent them from suffering, and thus basically forcing the conditions of suffering onto them, would not be respecting the dignity, as this becomes aggressive paternalism. You can probably think of your own scenarios where aggressive paternalism would be violating this dignity, other than procreation.

    . . . There is the danger here of an argument which proves far too much. Imagine a world where every person suffers a pinprick but no more, and the remainder of their life is pure happiness. Why wouldn't your or Benatar's argument also prohibit procreation in this world? The pinprick of suffering seems to fuel your arguments just as well as extreme suffering. Benatar's asymmetry holds just as well in that case.Leontiskos

    My point was that empirically-speaking, in the real world, there are no such charmed lives, so it is de facto out of the question other than a thought experiment. Supposing only a pin-prick was the suffering, I guess the scenario could be reconsidered. But I just want you to know, every single ethical consideration can be reconfigured if you change the conditions for which ethics plays out... So for example.. What if when you stab someone, they reanimate every time you do it instantly.. would that be wrong? I don't know, but that's not the world we generally live in..

    But ok, let me take your bait for taking the strongest position just for the sake of argument..

    Benatar thinks indeed, being that no one being deprived of this "almost charmed life", there is no foul. No person harmed, no foul. Rather, the violation still takes place in this scenario. It's not like the child is being "saved" from non-existence, so this isn't a palliative situation either.
  • Fire Ologist
    349


    Leontiskos methodically demonstrates that antinatalism turns on the premise that, if there is any human suffering, there is enough suffering to justify ending the human race.

    When thinking ahead for the unborn-yet-to-be-procreated persons, the potential ones antinatalism is trying be ethical toward, couldn’t we just as easily instead think of those unborn persons and make the rule “one cannot deprive someone of happiness without their consent.”

    Is there no happiness in the world?

    If that is our new rule, it becomes ethical to ask everyone to procreate as much as possible. Which would also be absurd as it would tend to deprive everyone of happiness if everyone was cranking out and trying to manage babies all of the time.

    This highlights something else. There is not really any duty one way or the other to non-existing potential people. Antinatalism is good for potential people who will by design never exist. Ethics arises between two existing, actualized people. We can act today thinking of its impact on future people, but until those future people are actual, our present actions can’t be seen as ethical, or not ethical. The ethics of the actions only arises where the people arise, actually.

    Also highlighted and not addressed in antinatalism, the world isn’t just suffering, or even enough suffering to contemplate a need to end all human beings. It’s just not compelling.

    We don’t need to solve the problem of any suffering. We will want to solve the problem of the individual actual person who is actually suffering greatly. But because of that person’s existence, and because other people experience happiness at times, we don’t need to end all people.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    The state of affairs does not exist yet, however. You can always say, "How can you prevent a state of affairs that is not existent! That situation has not come about yet.. In fact, we don't even KNOW which person might be harmed by the situation, but we know that in all likelihood, a person WILL be harmed, if YOU (the person who is doing the action) does X".schopenhauer1

    This is different than the theoretical potential person that is discussed pre-procreation. In the above scenario, not knowing the identity of the particular person who will be put in harms way doesn’t mean the present existing state of affairs does not include already existing people who are actually putting people in harms way and actually going to be harmed.

    The above is just not helpful here.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.3k
    When thinking ahead for the unborn-yet-to-be-procreated persons, the potential ones antinatalism is trying be ethical toward, couldn’t we just as easily instead think of those unborn persons and make the rule “one cannot deprive someone of happiness without their consent.”Fire Ologist

    No because that's the point, that in matters of ethics, preventing suffering is weighted more important than promoting happiness. And indeed, causing suffering in the hopes that one promotes happiness would thus be a violation therewith.

    If that is our new rule, it becomes ethical to ask everyone to procreate as much as possible. Which would also be absurd as it would tend to deprive everyone of happiness if everyone was cranking out and trying to manage babies all of the time.Fire Ologist

    But you point out the absurdity indeed of defending certain forms of utilitarianism. In fact, you have stumbled on the repugnant conclusion.

    This highlights something else. There is not really any duty one way or the other to non-existing potential people. Antinatalism is good for potential people who will by design never exist. Ethics arises between two existing, actualized people. We can act today thinking of its impact on future people, but until those future people are actual, our present actions can’t be seen as ethical, or not ethical. The ethics of the actions only arises where the people arise, actually.Fire Ologist

    No, not at all. As I said here:
    Let me walk you through some situations. Will you grant me that instead of an existing "person", I can instead use an existing "state of affairs"?

    If you allow me that, we can use the following analogy...

    There is a state of affairs whereby I can put someone in harms way by X action (it need not be procreation).

    The state of affairs does not exist yet, however. You can always say, "How can you prevent a state of affairs that is not existent! That situation has not come about yet.. In fact, we don't even KNOW which person might be harmed by the situation, but we know that in all likelihood, a person WILL be harmed, if YOU (the person who is doing the action) does X".

    In this state of affairs scenario, it is doubtful you will find this thinking absurd. That is to say, just because there isn't a particular person that this state of affairs will affect, doesn't mean we are not incumbent to prevent the situation. All the more so, the more important the harm that will occur, that it can be prevented reasonably easily, etc. etc. So no, I don't see this situation applying.
    schopenhauer1

    Also highlighted and not addressed in antinatalism, the world isn’t just suffering, or even enough suffering to contemplate a need to end all human beings. It’s just not compelling.Fire Ologist

    How is it not compelling to prevent suffering when one can?

    We don’t need to solve the problem of any suffering. We will want to solve the problem of the individual actual person who is actually suffering greatly. But because of that person’s existence, and because other people experience happiness at times, we don’t need to end all people.Fire Ologist

    But this is exactly the misguided thinking I explain between the tension of preventative and palliative ethics. You don't CREATE the situation of palliative ethics by bypassing the preventative part. I don't CREATE your suffering so that I can help you fix it.
  • Fire Ologist
    349
    in matters of ethics, preventing suffering is weighted more importantschopenhauer1

    That is not absolute. I’m not a utilitarian for instance. And antinatalism isn’t tailored to preventing suffering, it prevents everything, including weighting the importance of suffering over happiness.

    If you allow me that, we can use the following analogy...

    There is a state of affairs whereby I can put someone in harms way by X action (it need not be procreation).
    schopenhauer1

    I don’t see this as analogous here, because you are dealing here with existing people who are put in specific harms way and existing people who are putting them there. Antinstalism is dealing with existing people who are potentially putting people in harms way, and non-existing potential people. The scenarios are too far apart. It’s not close enough of an analogy to be instructive.

    How is it not compelling to prevent suffering when one can?schopenhauer1

    In a world of suffering and happiness, it is not compelling to prevent suffering by eliminating all people and all happiness as well. We don’t all agree that “in matters of ethics, preventing suffering is weighted more important.”

    Many would agree that disallowing procreation would cause great suffering in existing people. Some people are born moms and dads and they know it. Is their suffering as they live our antinatalism worth the good of a future world without humans to you? Antinatalism also causes suffering of existing people now who want kids and whose kids will love them.

    You don't CREATE the situation of palliative ethics by bypassing the preventative part. I don't CREATE your suffering so that I can help you fix it.schopenhauer1

    You don’t prevent MY suffering if I never exist either.

    It is ethical to prevent actual suffering in actual beings. It is wishful thinking to prevent potential suffering in non-existing beings. You might also be preventing the evolution of bliss and paradise on earth. You will never know if antinatalism was the right prescription for suffering, because they will be no one who could thank you for your ethics.

    So now I have three problems with antinatalism.

    1. There is no ethical way to treat non-existing people, so an ethics that is called good for its treatment of non-existing people is misguided at best if not non-ethics. Its resource management policy - not enough happiness to go around so let’s eliminate the number of suffering people.

    2. Suffering is not enough a reason to eliminate all humanity. My guess is the vast majority of people suffer 33% of their conscious time. The vast majority would rather live this life than no life at all. The suffering in the world still isn’t enough to justify ending the world.

    3. Antinatalism is not directed at preventing suffering, as it prevents everything. It’s an over broad solution to a narrower problem
    Imagine you have a magic wand that allows you to prevent procreation. People In two neighboring villages are constantly inflicting suffering on each other. You can’t solve so many disputes and you see that the suffering will never end, so instead you make it so those people can’t procreate and just let them live out their lives suffering. Soon there will be no more suffering inflicting going on in those villages because there will be no more people there. In another two neighboring villages, the people are always stealing from each other and bullying each other. There are times when the people are back in their homes laughing and relaxing, but at some point, everyone is stealing and bullying so at some point everyone is a victim of theft and bullying. No way to address the stealing and bullying, so you wave the wand and solve the problem eventually.

    Antinatalism isn’t tailored to the specific problem it is trying to prevent, and is way overboard of a response to just suffering.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    1. There is no ethical way to treat non-existing people,Fire Ologist

    The ethics are to do with our actions now. Not unborn people. The potential suffering itself is not hte moral crux. The action that (on the balance of probabilities) will make it come about, are. This is a gross oversimplication (or, overcomplexification, depending where you stand) of the point of antinatalism. That said, this is just another notch in my belt of Emotivism. Only your emotional response to that potential suffering could inform any decision around it. There is no ethical, normative principle which could entail either having, or not having children in the strict sense of those statements.

    Suffering is not enough a reason to eliminate all humanity.Fire Ologist

    This is, again, an emotive position. To some people it is. There isn't a way to argue for one or the other, really, other than Benatar's clearly apt a-symmetry argument. Accept, or don't.

    Antinatalism is not directed at preventing suffering, as it prevents everything.Fire Ologist

    This is a non sequitur. It prevents the imposition of human life and nought else. The suffering goes with it. I can't quite grasp why you'd make such a wildly overt overstatement of the position. Another below..
    The suffering in the world still isn’t enough to justify ending the world.Fire Ologist
    -------------------
    It is wishful thinking to prevent potential suffering in non-existing beings.Fire Ologist

    Then it would stand to reason you are an anti-abortionist? Someone who would not look twice pulling out in the road? Wouldn't remove broken glass from a playground? These are all potential harms to no one in particular (the A-symmetry argument beats this anyway). A starker example is, why keep NICU's sterile? Hehehe.

    The vast majority would rather live this life than no life at all.Fire Ologist

    Benatar, particularly, addresses this issue. It is far more likely the figure is closer to 80% (this is interpolation based on my thoughts along with his arguments around it). Polly-Anna syndrome is rife. Most people are genuinely mistaken about how often they suffer. That said, I'm unsure this is a particularly strong anti-natalist argument anyway. I don't care what living people think about their lives. The vast majority of anti-natalists hold that the living have a deep interest in continuing to live. Perhaps there are situations in whcih this isn't the case, but overall, its hard to find examples of that.

    Your earlier two objections are to stronger arguments, and I think your objections are just your taste. They aren't logic objections or reasonable ways around the claims made. They just illustrate that you do not accept htem, prima facie. That's fine. None of that has to do with the strength or weakness of hte anti-natalist position other than how it strikes you (weakly, it seems).

    Antinatalism isn’t tailored to the specific problem it is trying to prevent, and is way overboard of a response to just suffering.Fire Ologist

    It is a 1:1 match with its aim. That you're averse to non-existence is expected, but not relevant.
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