• schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    I as referring to the general AN positions not your personal ones.

    What I said outlined a couple of the main points AN puts forwards. I said no more than that.
    I like sushi

    There’s a lot of AN positions so it’s easy to pick and choose strawmen. What “general ones”? Even Benatar, the most well known proponent, is misconstrued terribly.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    I was merely pointing out the gist not giving a thorough analysis.

    I pointed to the issue of non-identity (about which there are many positions) and about asymmetry (about which there is more to say too in terms of its implications). Pointing out to those asking that looking at one without considering the other is kind of futile.

    You can provide links for them if you wish. I have read, and listened, extensively to the AN position.

    My position is that it is VERY useful to look at for anyone considering having children - but not because I believe it will, or should, stop them.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    I have read, and listened, extensively to the AN position.I like sushi

    Again with the THE. It's not ONE position. The "gist" is not having children. The arguments are numerous and nuanced. To lump it in as "the" position would be misleading.

    You can provide links for them if you wish. I have read, and listened, extensively to the AN position.I like sushi

    That's ok. I've written plenty if you want to search.

    My position is that it is VERY useful to look at for anyone considering having children - but not because I believe it will, or should, stop them.I like sushi

    What you said there are very different things. Let's say Kant's CI or Aristotle's virtue ethics is correct, that wouldn't necessarily mean people "will" stop people from X, Y, Z or promote people to do X, Y, Z. The soundness on the argument doesn't rely on whether it affects a lot of people. I can try to show tens of millions of people that someone like Trump is a conman liar that doesn't have your interests in mind, and that doesn't mean it will affect them, even if there is plenty of evidence it is the case.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    I pointed to the issue of non-identity (about which there are many positions) and about asymmetry (about which there is more to say too in terms of its implications). Pointing out to those asking that looking at one without considering the other is kind of futile.I like sushi

    Right there are many positions, but you lump despite this. Anyways, the "non-identity" issue works AGAINST natalism. That is to say, if we believe in not violating dignity/autonomy etc. The violation only happens when someone is born, not when someone is not born.

    If we had a set of beliefs about an event, even as big as "life itself", ranging from really like, disappointed with, frustrated by, not happy with, etc. None of that becomes so much a moral issue insofar as it is someone's own personal reaction. The minute that "I like X, so SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD LIKE X", it becomes a problem, as now someone ELSE will be affected by YOUR evaluation.

    But again, this is my argument, not all of AN. So don't misconstrue that even though I am continuing the debate.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    Nonidentity is neither for nor against (it is not specific to AN either). It is the question of whether, or how, ethics can be applied to people who do not as yet exist.

    The main positions are:

    - We have no right to bring life into existence (nonidentity issue involved here in part).
    - No harm is better than no pleasure.

    I have found nothing much outside of these primary ethical issues worthy of much attention (existential threats, state of society etc.,.) because all of them orbit the two positions I gave the gist of above.

    But again, this is my argument, not all of AN. So don't misconstrue that even though I am continuing the debate.schopenhauer1

    I responded to people asking about the AN position is in general. I did that. What your personal position is is your business to explain.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Nonidentity is neither for nor against (it is not specific to AN either). It is the question of whether, or how, ethics can be applied to people who do not as yet exist.I like sushi

    Why do you state it like I don't understand this?

    The main positions are:

    - We have no right to bring life into existence (nonidentity issue involved here in part).
    - No harm is better than no pleasure.
    I like sushi

    Replace "pleasure" though with happiness or "positives".
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    I responded to people asking about the AN position is in general. I did that. What your personal position is is your business to explain.I like sushi

    People were responding to my last comments generally, then you swooped in there like you owned the place.. Please.

    We've discussed this before. We've discussed this before. Again, swipe clean. Last time you were tag-teaming my argument with some other poster.. I forget which of the handful of anti-antinatalists that like to join..but they'll probably pop in too. Your friend perhaps.

    Also, I'd like to add to your 'No harm is better than no pleasure" summation that it's not as simple as that, as nothing is. It is also the fact that one is pursuing a positive ethic by breaking a negative ethic, or justifying breaking the negative ethic (don't harm), by pursuing a positive ethic (promote X, Y, Z outcome.. happiness or whatnot). One would have to get past this notion that one should force a new person into an intended goal by breaking the negative ethic of no-harm, no-autonomy, etc.

    Yeah the non-identity thing is then thrown out like a poor defense because "Who is harmed?" "Who is violated?" And of course this is supposed to justify doing any number of things that could potentially harm a future person.. It's obvious that any number of other scenarios that might happen to a "potential child" would be considered wrong, even if a person isn't actually born yet. It's the weakest of the anti-AN defenses, and not even clever.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Added some more
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    People were responding to my last comments generally, then you swooped in there like you owned the place.. Please.schopenhauer1

    Because you were wrong. I will not interact with you any more. My post was directed at the others who failed to understand the AN position. I tried to guide them towards a better understanding that is all.

    Bye
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Because you were wrong. I will not interact with you any more. My post was directed at the others who failed to understand the AN position. I tried to guide them towards a better understanding that is all.

    Bye
    I like sushi

    Wrong about what? Wrong about THE AN position..Right.
  • Outlander
    2k
    misguided points for misguided notions.schopenhauer1

    I truly think there are two widely and generally-held ideological "camps" as far as AN.

    Perhaps it's an over-simplification or some misaligned understanding (which surely you could correct emphatically and with a smile), those two camps being:

    Circumstantial:
    Things (be it poverty, the state of the world, wars, overpopulation, prejudices, natural greed* [though that one gets interesting because it hints at an absolute, "unfixable" dynamic that will forever be present which belongs to the second camp]) as they are (and are foreseeable to be in either perpetuity or any reasonable foreseeable future) formulate a moral non-favorability towards procreation,

    Intrinsic:
    Due to Original Position, even if Earth was transformed into a Utopia, a hypothetical almost "alien world" where suffering is so rare and unheard of it now requires true and intense effort to create (versus the current dynamic where suffering seems to be the default and likely outcome without large [and for some non-accomplishable] levels of planning, effort, and perhaps luck), procreation is still responsible because a person did not choose to be born, and inevitably will face some restriction as a result, such restriction amounting to enslavement (ie. follow the moral laws, be a good neighbor, feed oneself, manage stress in a socially-acceptable way lest one be punished by physical incarceration, etc, etc. that one never "asked" or was even involved in being placed in). Something like that?

    --

    I take it to mean, in short, one is simply not true AN. True AN is, in a sentence, based on the truth one can never truly guarantee a net positive in performing an action (whether it's procreation, or even something more general such as ordering a dish at an unfamiliar restaurant or a new special at a familiar one, it should not be taken. That is to say, the reasons for avoidance are self-evident. Is this correct? Simply because we, rightfully so, consider creating new life more substantial and important than ordering food, doesn't change the underlying principle or truths of the comparative example, I think can be argued.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Due to Original Position, even if Earth was transformed into a Utopia, a hypothetical almost "alien world" where suffering is so rare and unheard of it now requires true and intense effort to create (versus the current dynamic where suffering seems to be the default and likely outcome without large [and for some non-accomplishable] levels of planning, effort, and perhaps luck), procreation is still responsible because a person did not choose to be born, and inevitably will face some restriction as a result, such restriction amounting to enslavement (ie. follow the moral laws, be a good neighbor, feed oneself, manage stress in a socially-acceptable way lest one be punished by physical incarceration, etc, etc. that one never "asked" or was even involved in being placed in). Something like that?Outlander

    Yes. So, as you just pointed out, life has a limited set of choices. We tend to look at life as the degrees of freedom of choice, rather than the degrees of limitations. That is to say, you can't choose what is not available- a world or circumstance that cannot or does not exist, for example. THESE are the set you can choose from. But what if I don't want these set of choices? You are shit out of luck. Some people might have some mitigation, or even say to just go kill yourself you ungrateful bastard. But you see, there's something callously and unjustly wrong with this kind of response to the forced set of choices, once born. Once a person is born, there is only what life offers, with a brain that can understand there are undesirable things about life. And if you need to mitigate and change your mindset, or whatever else you're going to throw as a palliative, you have already conceded the original violation of forcing a limited set of choices.

    Edit: And thus, why I say one should not violate the negative ethics of non-harm, forcing someone into YOUR project, for the positive ethic of X, Y, Z (usually along the lines of promoting happiness, a value of some sort, virtue, and then we can go down the litany of purely selfish personal projects).

    If I value X, Y, Z about a project and think it is good, this does not mean I should affect other people to be forced to also be part of the project.
  • Outlander
    2k
    Yes. So, as you just pointed out, life has a limited set of choices. We tend to look at life as the degrees of freedom of choice, rather than the degrees of limitations.schopenhauer1

    So, at the end of the day, it requires respect of life to allow one to be in a position to create, let's say a bomb, to end all intelligent life, on Earth? Since life will exist otherwise. And the AN argument is, this is pure suffering.

    Where do we go from here? What about possibility of life on other planets? Should life be respected long enough to ensure our entire universe is destroyed or rather "made incapable" of supporting life in perpetuity? We're not at that state, currently. So surely, the irony or at least unacknowledged (at least at present) reality which requires such a truth to become actualized is ignored?

    That is to say, life (the true AN equates with suffering?) will still exist until more life is created that allows greater potential to prevent itself? Do you understand this is what you're saying?
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    So, at the end of the day, it requires respect of life to allow one to be in a position to create, let's say a bomb, to end all intelligent life, on Earth? Since life will exist otherwise. And the AN argument is, this is pure suffering.Outlander

    Huh? Why make strawmen? You don't "fix" a violation (non-harm, no autonomy) with another violation (non-autonomy at the least, and non-harm in certain forms of hedonism/utilitarianism).

    Where do we go from here? What about possibility of life on other planets? Should life be respected long enough to ensure our entire universe is destroyed or rather "made incapable" of supporting life in perpetuity? We're not at that state, currently. So surely, the irony or at least unacknowledged (at least at present) reality which requires such a truth to become actualized is ignored?

    That is to say, life (the true AN equates with suffering?) will still exist until more life is created that allows greater potential to prevent itself? Do you understand this is what you're saying?
    Outlander

    I don't understand what it is YOU'RE rambling on about. Killing people to "save" them is not what AN is saying. It is a ridiculous straw man.

    Ironically, the only way death occurs is being born in the first place, so try again.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    You are overextending quite a lot there! Haha!

    No one is an AN to that degree at all. That is not AN. I lost my 3000+ word essay on this subject unfortunately (not that I think you would have enjoyed reading it anyway!) :D

    Made a brief summary here:

    Antinatalism is based on a two main areas of contention. That is the philosophical problem of nonidentity and application metaphysical valuations.

    NONIDENTITY

    Firstly, the nonidentity problem is outlined quite simply in ethical terms as how and if we can claim to pass moral judgements that have consequences on persons who do not, as yet, exist. An instance of this would be akin to how we attend our environment with the thought to hand as to how it can effect future generations.

    For instance, a culture that prioritises trees, viewing them as sacred perhaps, may also use them to build housing. This would disrupt future generations if they neglected the native forests by effectively destroying them all to build more houses or for use in other sacred ceremonies.

    Here we can see a clear neglect of persons who do not yet exist (nonidentity). In contemporary terms this is often equated to how humans have damaged the natural world, thus leaving future generations with future problems to solve they had no direct hand in causing.

    Here one antinatalist (AN) argument ensues. This is that we have no right to bring life into the world that will suffer due to none of its own doing. The new life is not responsible for its own coming into being, yet it does come into being. How can this be considered in light of those making the moral decision to have children? Is this morally irresponsible or not? If so to some degree each way, then to what degree and how can we rightly measure this?

    Regardless of any personal analysis of this situation we can understand that given certain beliefs about this scenario we can come to see the reasoning behind someone siding with the AN argument.

    Some will see justification in talking about the rights of nonidentity persons while others may find this too difficult, or impossible, to hold. The degree to which this can or cannot be justified is tied up in other initial ethics/moral stances (be this deontological, utilitarian, nihilistic, etc.,.).

    THE METAPHYSIC OF ASYMMETRY

    This perspective is an interesting one regarding moral axiology. Let us assume that measuring such values of human experience can be made in a meaningful way to begin with. This argument puts forward the proposition the probable chance of ‘harm’ and ‘benefit’ (let us use these terms as positive and negative aspects of human experience).

    A) If someone (nonidentity) does not come into existence then there is No Harm and No Benefit.

    B) If someone does come into existence then Harm is guaranteed (on some level) and so is Benefit (to some degree).

    The argument goes as follows …

    For A, No Harm is Good and No Benefit is Not Bad.

    For B, Harm is Bad and Benefit is Good.

    Looking at instance A), not existing is Better than existing because there is an asymmetry between Harm and Benefit, where lack of harm is strove for and peaks in Good in its negation, lack of Benefit is Not Bad and so neutral. No Harm either way.

    Looking at instance B), existing is guaranteed to cause Harms and Benefits are not guaranteed to outweigh Harms, even though in some cases they may.

    Conclusion: Not existing guarantees No Harm caused. Existing guarantees Harm caused AND cannot guarantee Benefits outweighing guaranteed Harms.

    If then the goal is to reduce Harm then it is effectively a gamble when we create new life. The nonidentity person may have a Good OR Bad life, whereas if such a person never came to be no more Harm will be caused to such a person for obvious reasons.

    Now to return to the problem of nonidentity …

    MORAL RESPONSIBILITY

    The question is now how anyone has the moral right to procreate given a belief in reducing Harm following from the principle outlined in the argument of asymmetry?

    No one asked to be born (obviously!), but someone did choose to bring life into the world. It is a solid argument for AN to say no to procreation here if they believe in the reduction of Harm as a priority. It is not faulty thinking following that particular line of reasoning with those particular views.

    There are numerous other AN arguments that are basically little more than weighing the scales regarding future benefits and detriments to living being (and nonidentity potentials too) that add different themes to the argument. The common ones are Overpopulation, Dystopian World, Inequality, etc.,. These are more or less decoration to the core elements of the AN position I have laid out.

    There is certainly weight to argument. Like every other ethical position though it does not present a convincing absolute moral law, but creates dilemmas for those serious about having children who wish to explore the ethical implications of doing so, for their child, other children, their community and surroundings, and all other manner of issues too.

    NOTE: There was a another major point I had in the essay regarding ethics in general and Self-interest Vs Common good. Way more involved for that though so omitted it. Hopefully the above helps you see the weight, and use, of the argument presented by the AN position (whether you follow it or not).
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    Mission accomplishedFire Ologist

    Congrats :)

    Really? You don’t use metaphors to make the text more interesting?Fire Ologist

    This is a bit sleight-of-handy. That's not what's happening here. They are informing the interpretation of the argument. That, to me, is bad form in the sense that you are in la-la land if you anthropomorphize nature to support a factual or logical argument because you think its relevant - and really not contacting the argument if you think it addresses it. I understand flowery language for engagement, but this isn't hte place.

    The natural evolution of ethics in the world was necessary so that ethics could be ended by these ethical animals.Fire Ologist

    Your use of 'necessity' in this paragraph is perplexing. None of it necessary. That invokes a (whats called) cosmic level of intent which simply doesn't exist. But, for the sake of discussion, let's grant it - why is this conclusion at all a problem? Things are cyclical as best we can tell and don't adhere to much in terms of form (over such long periods, that is).

    Seems like natural necessity gone astray because of our “ethics”Fire Ologist

    I would say to some degree, this one gets a bit of traction. I think its worth discussing why Ethics even matters to this discussion beyond whether or not one feels that having children is ethical. I don't. I can explain why and see where other's are lets say not making sense, but if someone simply rejects that suffering is ethically relevant to whether or not life obtains I can't argue with that. That's their view, and IMO ethics its nothing but personal emotional response - if you're a fairly logical person, you can get further but that's all. But again, 'necessity' is not a good word here. These things didn't have to happen. The natural necessity you invoke didn't see the Dinosaur asteroid coming, that's for sure.

    seems like it’s based on a preoccupation with suffering too much maybe?Fire Ologist

    If you suffer too much, whether you're preoccupied with it isn't relevant. Those who aren't have the 'polly anna syndrome' and those who are are simply in touch with reality (this being a take - not my position on every human's psyche lol)

    What?Fire Ologist

    Hard to know what you're not getting. Swap humans for God. God's decision to remove the ocean. Human's decision not to procreate. They are diametrically opposed in the two stories we've told. If you can be clearer about what's not landing, I'd be happy to draw more parallels.

    Wow. Philosopher king hath spoken to the little suffering people. Is anyone ever “wrong” when they judge what is right or wrong about the quality of OTHER PEOPLE’s lives?Fire Ologist

    Sly digs aside, you have entirely misunderstood what is being said here. If someone tells me they have a good life, yet all they ever do is complain to me about their life.... *shrug*. I don't have to even explain why they are wrong there. They are lying to themselves. "quality of life" is subjective, where a count of suffering is not. Don't conflate the two.
    Maybe “most antinataliats are wrong about the quality of their lives.” Possible? Killing off all procreation might be a little rash?Fire Ologist

    Possibly, for sure.. but i see absolutely no argument that gets anywhere near the realm of getting that off the ground. Antinatalists don't claim their lives are horrible, and you've got to stop insinuating there's some personal judgment going on. It's not relevant to me whether someone claims they have a good life individually - the argument is about lives to come. Those who are currently living aren't relevant, personally, but in aggregate. Most people are flat-out delusional about how good their life is because evolution has provided us with several incredible illusions to keep us procreating. Which is arbitrary, unnecessary and IMO bad for all involved. We do not need to procreate, other than to procreate, whcih is tautological crap. And even more importantly, most people are completely ignorant to the suffering of others. This is partially why polly-anna syndrome is so rife. Most people don't have a fucking clue how bad the majority of people's lives are - and this obviously a sliding scale. People are getting more ignorant about others over time, which the strict number of people suffering at the extremes comes down. But the number of people not majoratively suffering is vanishing. More slaves than ever, more concentrated wealth, authority and power than at most points in history (though, this is to do with population booms as much as form).

    The man inflicts a fetus that can be killed on a womanFire Ologist

    Accepting the over-simplification, yes. This does fall to women at some stage of hte analysis (careful of the alphabet soup). I see no issue there. That's just a fact of how humans procreate (the woman chooses, essentially, whether it comes to fruition). But, I think this is a bit dull of a version of the discussion. Whoever makes the choice is the culpable one. It's not all that interesting that at some stage the woman has the ultimate say (also, that's not always true anyway - men are larger and stronger on average and can physically force a woman to carry to term - which, obviously, is unethical already so we're fine heh).

    we can kill the fetus if we want, without inflicting sufferingFire Ologist

    We can. Yet, those alive will suffer for it, almost invariably. Yet another reason not to procreate - the possibility of having to go through an abortion.

    To be consistent with the notion procreation inflicts suffering, much harder for men to break the antinatalist rules? If ever?Fire Ologist

    Not in any way whatsoever, and I have to say I do not think your run up to this illustrated a support for this conclusion.

    Men choose to have children. If men never chose to have children and women were surreptitiously getting pregnant, or carrying to term then this gets some truck, but hte fact is men choose to have children and in fact have been the prime drivers behind procreation for hte majority of history. Only in the last seventy years or so have women had any control over when to conceive, carry and birth children with any lets call it accuracy.

    Men actually seem more likely to break antinatalist 'rules' by breaking several other deontological rules.

    This all said, perhaps it would make more sense to make an evolutionary argument:

    Evolution wants you procreate. It will delude you to this end. This doesn't make your life better. It is a parasitic kind of manipulation of you body by your genes, to have more, and less happy, children (that is biased, and its illustrative, to be clear - not trying to sneak it in). This functions the exact same way drug-seeking behaviour functions in addicts. You have to break the cycle to avoid the hurt.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    Antinatalists don't claim their lives are horrible, and you've got to stop insinuating there's some personal judgment going on. It's not relevant to me whether someone claims they have a good life individually - the argument is about lives to come.AmadeusD

    But the argument is that the lives to come will be full of suffering, and the evidence that the lives to come will be full of suffering is gleaned from those living now, who are suffering. So the judgment: "my life and those of others, are full of suffering," IS relevant. The argument is made FOR lives to come (or for NO lives to come more precisely), but the personal experience of lives now is one of the premises of the argument.

    If you suffer too much, whether you're preoccupied with it isn't relevant. Those who aren't have the 'polly anna syndrome' and those who are are simply in touch with reality (this being a take - not my position on every human's psyche lol)AmadeusD

    Seems like you are basically saying either you know your life is full of suffering, or you are living in LaLa land. I don't know why we would speak so generally about billions of lives in such simplistic terms, especially to support a logic that ends procreation as if it was just some other behavior.

    Look, I agree that suffering is everywhere that there is a living conscious being. I disagree the suffering is all of the time for every living being. And I think the non-suffering is well worth the suffering, for the vast majority of living beings. So I would need to be tortured and watch my family tortured for a few days at least before I would throw away all of human history and its future. I know there are those who have been tortured for years. I know for many, anxiety and depression are worse than physical pain - mental illness may be the deepest and sharpest of all suffering there is (and it can be accompanied by physical pain and physical sickness).

    But still, for most, much of the time, life is worth it. It's not LaLa land to take your suffering medicine like a badge of honor and greet each new day, each new birth, as something better, again, and again and again.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    But the argument is that the lives to come will be full of suffering, and the evidence that the lives to come will be full of suffering is gleaned from those living now, who are suffering. So the judgment: "my life and those of others, are full of suffering," IS relevant.Fire Ologist

    I agree, but I see that as entirely impersonal. Each individual arguing about the merits of their lives doesn't really touch the discussion too deeply. Its aggregation that matters because we're talking chances. And when speaking about this, in aggregate, that most people are wrong(or right) about how 'good' their lives are becomes highly relevant. A birds-eye could count up the good moments vs bad moments (by their own lights) and most people would come out in the negative yet claim the positive. This is unfortunately, true for myself and every person i've ever pressed on the subject.
    I should say, I take this position, but its not "mine". This is an age-old position that I think some of the more recent antinatalists have just tried to quantify. I think it works. Its just hard to accept without becoming cynical, which i've not. It's an 'on average' claim, which results in a x chances in x that one would have a life balanced toward not suffering. That chance is vanishingly slim.

    the personal experience of lives now is one of the premises of the argument.Fire Ologist

    Not really, no. The chance of a particular kind of experience is relevant, and we can aggregate extant experiences to calculate chances of more or less of that kind of experience. Ones where suffering isn't the overall flavour are rare. I wouldn't even consider doing the vast majority of things with a risk of a lifetime of suffering, without a 75+% chance of that not being the outcome. And even then, i'd most likely not do it. This rises to 99.9999999% when it has to do with my children's experience, which is telling, and may give some insight into the antinatalist thinking.

    Seems like you are basically saying either you know your life is full of suffering, or you are living in LaLa land.Fire Ologist

    in aggregate yes. Maybe 1/100,000 people would be right making the claim. Or living in lala land, yep.
    Nought wrong with that other than that it blinds you to the fact you're deluding yourself and hey presto having kids looks good to you. *sigh*. If these people were not having children, and increasing the sheer number of sufferers on the planet, I don't think this argument would any weight as one's delusion becomes one's reality internally.

    I disagree the suffering is all of the time for every living being.Fire Ologist

    Same. Hadn't intimated this as best I can tell.

    And I think the non-suffering is well worth the sufferingFire Ologist

    There are ways I can get to this position, but I can't only do so in light of a fully-conscious being at the level humans are making an informed decision. Inflicting this on those unborn is horrid.

    So I would need to be tortured and watch my family tortured for a few days at least before I would throw away all of human history and its futureFire Ologist

    This seems extremely, extremely selfish imo. Why is your experience the tell-all for humanity? (this being said while I fully get your point. This just seems a more fun way to take it).

    But still, for most, much of the time, life is worth it.Fire Ologist

    I think they are deluded that this is hte case, for sure. For most people, evolution has provided a rather handy mechanism for dismissing the almost inevitable future of mostly suffering to allows to go forth and fuck, basically. I'm unsure this can be gotten around without some kind of spiritual invocation and I'm unsure what that would look like for you. Peterson'eqsue perhaps?
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    Why is your experience the tell-all for humanity?AmadeusD

    It’s not. I’m saying, to convince me of the premise that my life is mostly suffering, you will have to add some suffering to my life.

    I’m not fashioning any new law based on my experience of suffering or happiness, or my judgement of how other people should rationally balance the scales of suffering and joy in their experience, in their lives.

    AN is fashioning a new law. AN says to me “because your life is mostly suffering, you should not procreate.” AN is the tell all.

    I’m just saying to Mr. AN enthusiast, “procreate if you want or don’t procreate if you don’t want, but telling all of us, including me, not to procreate based on the fact that all life, including mine, is on balance over full of suffering, doesn’t make sense to me at all.” My kids love life too much. One’s a nurse (surrounded by suffering), one is a welder (gets burned everyday), and one is a struggling artist (who needs a job). They are all glad I “inflicted” life on them.

    Its aggregation that mattersAmadeusD

    There is no aggregate until there are individuals to pile up into that aggregate. An aggregate construction doesn’t get off the ground without constructing all of its individual stories first.

    most people would come out in the negative yet claim the positive.AmadeusD

    Two things: 1. I think most people overlook the positives and would errantly come out with mostly negatives. So I personally think most people would be wrong about their own lives too - if they said their lives were over full of pointless overwhelming suffering. But 2. What does it matter what anyone else thinks about anyone else’s lives but their own? I can’t tell you what pink looks like to you, or what hot feels like to you, and I can’t tell you how much you should be suffering or how much you should think you are suffering, or what you are feeling when you suffer painful feelings. So unless we all of our own wills each agree that “life is basically suffering” none of us should be basing a law on this premise. Who is anyone to tell me or anyone else but themselves, how much they suffer - that is not possible.

    What happens here is that, even if objectively speaking “life is mostly suffering”, we can only test that by asking each person, and the vast majority of people will say (as you said above), on balance, life is worth all of the suffering. Suffering, like the qualia of any experience, can’t be determined or imposed from without, and the value of that suffering in developing laws like AN, should not be imposed either.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    AN is fashioning a new law. AN says to me “because your life is mostly suffering, you should not procreate.” AN is the tell all.

    I’m just saying to Mr. AN enthusiast, “procreate if you want or don’t procreate if you don’t want, but telling all of us, including me, not to procreate based on the fact that all life, including mine, is on balance over full of suffering, doesn’t make sense to me at all.” My kids love life too much. One’s a nurse (surrounded by suffering), one is a welder (gets burned everyday), and one is a struggling artist (who needs a job). They are all glad I “inflicted” life on them.
    Fire Ologist

    The AN position is not this. Some idiots may think they have an unshakable argument, but in truth it is just one of many arguments and has valid points to consider.

    If anyone here is such an Extreme AN (to the point where they would enforce this by law) then they are not really understanding the point regular ANs make.

    I summed up the main points someone trying to understand the AN position need to understand. The AN position is perfectly reasonable and does raise some intriguing questions about personal responsibility and how we measure the value of life (which is clearly quite a subjective matter!).
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k




    You're all missing the mark to some degree. The main argument is not about "How much suffering" per se. That can be a dimension, but only after the core of the argument is understood.

    The argument relies on the asymmetry of preventing suffering and not preventing suffering. You already have to have as an ethic something "pinning" suffering to ethics. In my case, I am "pinning" via common notions of deontology about the dignity of people, and how they aren't to be used or "messed with". For example, non-harm, and autonomy seem to be pretty essential to the dignity of a person. All things that would be violated by having children. [It matters not that they "can't" be consented either, simply that they wouldn't be.]

    Not preventing suffering via procreation, will lead to the violation of this ethic (non-harm, autonomy). Procreation leads to harm/suffering.

    And again, if you want to parse out "suffering" and throw out categorical errors and strawman for examples, you can save it, as like in previous posts, I have provided the distinction between preventative actions (prevent the harm if possible, especially if it is unnecessary to let the harm happen in the first place!) versus remediative harm (the harm is already taking place, now a set of actions is needed to remediate it!).

    It also becomes a problem of aggressive paternalism, as no procreation leads to no person being affected, and thus nothing caused to be affected ("forced" in shorthand colloquial speak), whereas procreation does lead to harm. Thus the aggressive paternalism only leads one way, that of the decision to procreate.

    What do I mean by aggressive paternalism? That is what I was explaining in many of these posts, the simple idea that you shouldn't violate a negative ethic (such as non-harm, autonomy) to promote a positive ethic. That is to say, you should not force recruit people who will be harmed, and profoundly, because YOU deem the game necessary for someone else to play based on your personal estimation.

    Now here is where perhaps we can discuss the dimension of: "HOW MUCH suffering?"- and I did bring up the Veil of Ignorance as we can never truly know, what the world beholds for someone else. But more than a primitive harm/benefit analysis, it is just a fact that the world has many known and unknown/unanticipated harms that will befall someone. That alone is enough to preclude life from being something one should "inflict" for another. Perhaps if we were indeed living in a parallel universe where there were very little suffering considerations, it would be more on the level of an ACTUAL gift. What do I mean here? I mean that (unlike life), an ACTUAL gift is something that would not impose an overriding set of inescapable BURDENS onto someone else, along with the "positives" of the gift being given. So even though this ethic doesn't need the dimension of "how much suffering", it still doesn't pass the test, even on this front.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    to the point where they would enforce this by lawI like sushi

    Call me an idiot but I thought we were talking about ethics, a moral law.

    If all the people who were thinking about procreating asked “what ought I do? What’s the right thing to do? Should I procreate?” The AN believer would say to everyone “You shouldn’t procreate because that would cause suffering.”

    No one is talking about “enforcement” of some criminal statute or something. Missed my point.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    No one is talking about “enforcement” of some criminal statute or something. Missed my point.Fire Ologist

    But a lot of people argue, oddly enough, passionately against AN as if it were being proposed as law. it seems to me, weirdly misplaced hostility. If it’s not worth consideration, you don’t even have to think about it. But often being angry about something means there is something of consideration that you find worthy of having to be addressed. It’s causing you a disturbance in some way that you can’t let it go. It’s not even popular enough that you can say it’s all over so you can’t avoid it. It’s a small minority position in philosophy, an already small subset.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    If all the people who were thinking about procreating asked “what ought I do? What’s the right thing to do? Should I procreate?” The AN believer would say to everyone “You shouldn’t procreate because that would cause suffering.”Fire Ologist

    Yes, but they are entitled to their opinions and it makes sense to listen to their arguments for what they are not you think they are.

    It is not really all that complicated you just have to break it down and understand that they have particular views on responsibility to future beings. You may not hold these views but you can consider them as if you did to some degree and come to a reasonable understanding of them.

    As something of a comparison let us assume we all agree that polluting rivers is a bad thing. If some factory manager dumped toxins into the river (il)legally knowing the potential effect on the offspring of people who happen to drink this water we would regard this as a pretty terrible thing. The AN extends this further, but at least you can begin to understand why we want to STOP the factory manager from doing what they did, yet we would not decide to BAN the construction of all factories that could potentially pollute the river.

    Understanding the general direction of the argument does not mean you need to adhere to it nor agree with it. You can still follow the path and see what is of use.

    People who talk about AN from a radical position are obviously radicals, and radicals tend not to listen. I do not really waste my time on them as they do a good enough job of pushing others away from themselves to the point I see no point in engaging directly.

    NOTE: To anyone jumping down my throat saying I am misrepresenting AN. No, sorry. This is not what I am doing. I am, and have, broken it down to the CORE elements that those not familiar with AN need to understand. I have no intention of exhibiting every possibility because they ALL come down to no 'suffering' being good where no 'pleasure' is not bad (asymmetry argument and the surrounding issues of utilitarianism/consequentialism and metaphysical values) and nonidentity (surrounding items like individual rights, responsibility and in particular whether or not we can say we have a 'Right' to procreate regarding potential beings combined with inevitability of 'suffering').
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    the asymmetry of preventing suffering and not preventing sufferingschopenhauer1

    So any degree of suffering is bad. I get that about your argument.

    common notions of deontology about the dignity of people, and how they aren't to be used or "messed with". For example, non-harm, and autonomy seem to be pretty essential to the dignity of a personschopenhauer1

    Not preventing suffering via procreation, will lead to the violation of this ethic (non-harm, autonomy). Procreation leads to harm/suffering.schopenhauer1

    I get it.

    Dignity is preserved in the person who prevents suffering by not procreating.

    I get it.

    You dont get that I’m still not persuaded by the logic.

    If I go to Chicago, there’s a chance I cause somebody in Chicago to suffer. So if I never go to Chicago I have prevented all of that possible, likely (because life is so full of suffering) suffering. Therefore, I should never go to Chicago.

    These aren’t strawmen. These are individual lives living out their free moral choices, using logic and judgement. In the judgement of AN, all human procreation is worth ending balanced against all human suffering.

    The main argument is not about "How much suffering" per se. That can be a dimension, but only after the coreschopenhauer1

    Suffering is close to the core of the argument. Very close. The AN person is not preventing happiness, or boredom, they are preventing suffering, and suffering caused by one person to another person is the thing that goes against human. Suffering is really bad, bad enough to prompt moral laws and new choices. According to the AN position.

    It’s not convincing to keep saying discussions about the suffering prong of the argument are strawman arguments.

    you should not force recruit people who will be harmedschopenhauer1

    So what if you come from a long line of procreators, all of your parents and grandparents were all procreators (weird how that works) and all you want to do is spread a little love and joy and hope for a better future around like your mother did….. Don’t you think you will cause fresh new suffering to make this person doubt procreation? You are saying “it’s for your own good, despite all the people on your family tree who love and admire, for your own ethical good you should not cause suffering, so you should not procreate.” The rule itself as a thought causes suffering too, to someone who had long plans of a family and grandkids one day. It’s nice that no one is talking about actually forcing people not to procreate, but that’s not the point; even asking (most) people to reconsider any more procreation, is going to cause suffering. How do you answer that without being paternalistic, and without:
    YOU deem the game necessary for someone else to play based on your personal estimation.schopenhauer1

    The game in your estimation is never causing suffering. But you never entertain thoughts of suffering being not just tolerable, but able to be made part of our dignity.

    Not causing suffering isn’t strong enough of a moral code versus the chance at bringing about a human good through that suffering.

    Suffering matters greatly to your argument and you take it for granted that everyone should know this suffering, and that no one could dignify this suffering, and instead call it a strawman.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    It’s a small minority position in philosophy, an already small subset.schopenhauer1

    I can’t believe it’s even a small subset, because it’s illogical to me to promote an ethic that defeats the existence of all ethical subjects.

    I’m just talking to you. I’m not trying to save the world. I know nature will never give AN much traction. Maybe it’s not a good thought, despite the goodness of trying not to cause harm. AN defeats it’s own good, which are ethical human beings.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    In the sociopolitical sphere I think a decent part of this idea stemmed from a staunch opposition to 'Pro Lifers'. I think there are many more fundamentalists at the Pro end of the spectrum though! :D
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    let us assumeI like sushi

    No. That life is suffering, and no more needs to be said about this life we are each forced to live? No, I don’t assume that.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    this idea stemmed from a staunch opposition to 'Pro LifersI like sushi

    Interesting. Maybe. But says nothing about whether it’s a good idea and a sound moral position to take.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    No one does over any reasonable extension of time. The point is to understand that someone else 'measures' the valuation between 'pain' and 'no pain' as a meaningful point in this kind of argument (which it is).
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.