• I like sushi
    4.4k
    Of course not. It is up to you to bother with the argument or not and live as you wish to live.

    The AN argument has weight to it. The utilitarian positions have weight to them too, So what? It is our pleasure to attend to them or not.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    I think there are many more fundamentalistsI like sushi

    No one has explained how it is logical for an AN person to say “thou shalt not procreate” but, after a person breaks that rule and gets pregnant, how they can also say “it is permissible to get an abortion.” That would mean, it is wrong to create a newly conceived fetus, because that causes suffering, but once you create one, you can still kill it. Where is the internal logic there?

    Unless AN’s define procreation as bringing a baby to viability. In such case, another sub rule under the AN ethic is that “if you are newly found pregnant, you should always get an abortion, or you will fail to prevent suffering.” See, I answered it for the AN enthusiast. More abortions to save world from all those mothers and fathers who don’t seem to care about all of the suffering they failed to prevent.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    measures' the valuation between 'pain' and 'no pain' as a meaningful pointI like sushi

    So if life only had a little bit of suffering in it, for everyone, the AN argument would fail? That’s not what Schop is saying. And it opens the whole AN argument up to attacks regarding the value of suffering.

    Which to me shows its weakness.

    If I leave my house tomorrow and go driving, I’ll accidentally cut someone off, or miss a green light and cause someone to be late for work, or maybe hit someone, so in order to prevent suffering, shouldn’t I never leave my house? Isn’t that the same logic being applied to procreation?
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    No one has explained how it is logical for an AN person to say “thou shalt not procreate” but, after a person breaks that rule and gets pregnant, how they can also say “it is permissible to get an abortion.” That would mean, it is wrong to create a newly conceived fetus, because that causes suffering, but once you create one, you can still kill it. Where is the internal logic there?Fire Ologist

    This is precisely the kind of problem looked at in the issue of nonidentity. I do not know of any good argument as to when an abortion should or should not happen - but that is a separate but interesting comparison to consider when untangling the differences in such positions.

    I am not going to put words in their mouth only give an honest reply to your point.

    So if life only had a little bit of suffering in it, for everyone, the AN argument would fail? That’s not what Schop is saying. And it opens the whole AN argument up to attacks regarding the value of suffering.Fire Ologist

    It would still not address the issue of nonidentity and your 'Right' to bring someone into the world who may or may not suffer to some larger or smaller degree.

    This is because the valuation attached to existence put forward by the AN is that of 'asymmetry'. The absence of 'suffering' is GOOD while the absence of 'pleasure' is NOT BAD (rather than GOOD). It is a basic aggregation aligned with the unpredictability of how a human's life will be. This is why an AN may say 'Why gamble?' because to them it is a little like this scenario:

    1) You do not care about money AT ALL.
    2) You are given money and then have to gamble with it.
    3) Two possible outcomes:

    A) You GAIN more money.
    OR
    B) You LOSE the money.

    All you then have to do is replace MONEY with 'Pain' and then 'Pleasure' to see how there is an imbalance. Not having either to begin with is more satisfactory than gambling.

    If you could guarantee that every lived life would be basically full of 'pleasure' to an optimal level for everyone then I cannot see how an AN could argue against such a scenario. If there is LITERALLY no scenario they or you can present that is for procreation then they are stuck.

    On the flip side can you imagine certain extreme scenarios where you would look more favorably on the AN position?
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    can you imagine certain extreme scenarios where you would look more favorably on the AN positionI like sushi

    By favorably you mean see the logic, because AN is all gloom and doom about all of life and what is the best thing to do about it - doesn’t do any of us any favors. But If this world was a living hell, I and all I could see around me was great suffering, and I knew my child would have it as bad or worse, with no hope for anything worth all the pain and suffering, then maybe.

    You didn’t answer my scenario about leaving the house being likely to cause additional suffering in the world. How am I any less immoral by having a baby or leaving the house? If I leave, I am likely to cause some suffering to some potential person, just like if I take steps to procreate I am likely to cause some suffering, therefore yo prevent suffering and be an ethical person, I shouldn’t leave the house or procreate.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    How am I any less immoral by having a baby or leaving the house? If I leave, I am likely to cause some suffering to some potential person, just like if I take steps to procreate I am likely to cause some suffering, therefore yo prevent suffering and be an ethical person, I shouldn’t leave the house or procreate.Fire Ologist

    I believe such a person would do their best not to cause more harm either by leaving or not leaving their house. Once we exist it cannot be undone.

    Again, the point of focus would be the nonidentity and what right you have to bring someone into the world in the first place.

    You may as well ask something like why not wipe out the entire human race over night BUT that is not what AN is saying. They are concerned with the Rights of potential people and our justification for viewing having children as a human right in and of itself (without considering the rights of a human that never asked to exist in the first place).

    Being born into an idealistic world still begs the question of why we do it and whether we really should. I imagine everyone has a number of reasons for having children and an even greater number of people never even really think about it at all.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    what right you have to bring someone into the world in the first place.I like sushi

    What right do I have to make someone else late for work by driving too slow? What right do I have to cause a car accident? None. So if preventing suffering in some possible scenario is the highest ethical ideal, then I shouldn’t leave the house.

    You didn’t answer the question.

    I can have a baby and “do my best” not to cause any harm to that baby. So if merely having the baby sets up the conditions where I didn’t prevent suffering, so does leaving the house and involving anyone else in my actions.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    What right do I have to make someone else late for work by driving too slow? What right do I have to cause a car accident? None. So if preventing suffering in some possible scenario is the highest ethical ideal, then I shouldn’t leave the house.Fire Ologist

    Nothing to do with AN.

    I can have a baby and “do my best” not to cause any harm to that baby. So if meeely having the baby sets up the conditions where I didn’t prevent suffering, so does leaving the house and involving anyone else in my actions.Fire Ologist

    I answered by saying if 'suffering' was not an issue there is still the issue of questioning the intrinsic right of of having a child (the nonidentity problem).

    Do not get me wrong I understand the kind of comparison you are making, but it is not an AN position to argue about things such as the right to punch someone in the face, be late for an appointment or such items surrounding the usual ethical concerns of existing humans. It is about looking at the ethical issues surrounding the reasons, and 'human rights' involved in procreation.

    The 'suffering' part is A factor not THE defining factor of the AN position. This is why I have stated multiple times that both need to be considered when viewing the AN position.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    The 'suffering' part is A factor not THE defining factoI like sushi

    It’s THE defining factor. Take out that life is suffering, you take out that procreation causes life which causes suffering, AND you take out the ethical ideal that it is wrong to inflict suffering and good to prevent suffering.

    Take out Suffering, and the whole AN argument collapses.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    Take out Suffering, and the whole AN argument collapses.Fire Ologist

    So does life. There is no life without suffering so you would effectively be achieving nothing by making a claim that suffering is absent.

    The 'suffering' is part of the argument involved with the presumed Right to bring life into the world going unquestioned. It is a very subtle part of the AN position but nevertheless essential to it - just like the Right to have an abortion for some women.

    There is the claim to a Right to act in a certain manner (create/negate) potential life, and the issue of 'suffering' too (which is inevitable for any living creature).

    To repeat, you have absolutely no need to agree with the AN argument only to understand the inner workings of it. The issue of nonidentity might not be much of an issue for you either, but it is for many. You just have to accept this and say "okay, but no thanks," and take what you can away from the discussion.

    Just like someone believing in a god you have to listen to them, throw in some questions and then see if you can make some kind of sense of it all as best you can. Ultimately there is no conclusive answer as we cannot measure such things as yet.

    There is a point in my mind where having an abortion is the right way to go and in my mind there is also the point where AN is the way to go. I have a far less murky picture of former than the latter.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    Also, consider the very problem of measuring 'suffering' against 'pleasure' even if you did not buy into the whole asymmetry argument.

    In terms of nonidentity I have already shown how we can have care and concerns for future generations, so this is involved in the argumentation too.

    That is it. If you understand this you understand the AN position and the problems it poses (regardless of its 'rightness' or 'wrongness').
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    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.Fire Ologist


    Again, you have failed to interpret the arguments, by mischaritable reading or just outright failure to tackle what I am saying.

    You are now wearing out my patience with this kind of thing. Either debate the points, or don't. But stop misconstruing and strawmanning it.
    Let's look at your responses...
    I get it.

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

    I get it.
    Fire Ologist

    No, you don't get it then. It's NOT about the dignity of the PARENTS. Rather, it's about the dignity of the (future) child. Dignity is not violated by NOT allowing the suffering to carry forward (i.e. non-harm/non-autonomy principles are not violated). That is say, no person exists to be violated prior to procreation. The violation only takes place once procreation occurs.

    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!).schopenhauer1

    Once born, the person is in remediation ethics. They have interests and goals, and these are weighed against other interests and goals. It would be indeed, an indignity to NOT allow people to pursue their goals within reason, once actually existing. This doesn't mean that they then get to FORCE others, unnecessarily into harmful projects of their personal preferences (as this would be unnecessary violation.. it didn't need to happen). Rather, it means you have to learn to live together and respect each other's rights. Needing to survive in a given context of a society means having to move about in public spaces- in the situatedness of a social sphere. This means, inevitably you will cause unintentional harm. You try to be careful to avoid violations, but it cannot be prevented (unlike in the case of procreation), and thus why it always falls under remediation whereas procreation falls under preventative. Positive ethics DOES matter in the sphere of existing to some extent, as long as it doesn't unnecessarily violate others. Remember the bridge argument? The fishermen want to catch the biggest fish of their life. It's blocking YOUR right to go to your car. Whatever pleasure they get from fishing and the collateral damage of causing your harm, it was unnecessary to "recruit" you into their project. This is different than being one car of many in traffic "recruiting" you into traffic. With the road situation, it is tacitly accepted that this is part of how roads worked. However, if a car wanted to stop traffic so they can look out the side of the road at some attraction, that is now falling into unnecessary "recruiting" territory.

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

    Some people believe the world is flat. They are UNCONVINCED. Some people think Donald Trump doesn't pose a threat to the democratic order. They are UNCONVINCED. Some people think the world is 6,000 years old. They are UNCONVINCED. It's not my job to try to convince every Harry, Dick, and Jane of their intransigent, unsound beliefs. I can only present the argument faithfully and to the best of my ability and they can do whatever they want. They can handle snakes, pray to their god, say their holy Hosannas, spout out nonsense, red herring non-sequitors on an internet forum, do whatever.

    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
    Fire Ologist

    This is actually the thing I am saddest about when arguing the case. I am not a Spock-like figure. I think people can be great parents, and are good people, but that procreation is still wrong. The two can be separated out. No one is doubting that certain people are very good at parenting and raising kids and I feel for the idea that they feel they are missing out on something. But this is a classic case of "inclination" versus "moral". The inclination is to want to fulfill this desire to raise a child. The ethic is to not unnecessarily create more people that suffer, and to force people into a world based on one's own estimation of how much suffering is good (especially since the amount and kind of suffering for another is unknown as just a fact of the matter). It's then the inclination that must be re-educated, not the ethic.

    Everything seems counterintuitive until it becomes the norm. How do you explain people who value being "child-free"? These people don't even have the inclination to have children. They rather live a non-child lifestyle. They don't want to raise them, some don't even like kids (though many do, they just don't want them). This isn't even a small segment of the population. Child-free people aren't antinatalists usually, but they are a growing trend in society, and it grows with each generation, leading to a decline in fertility rates in most developed and highly educated nations. These people simply don't have this "inclination". This is just one of many proofs that the desire for procreation (literally the desire to want kids) is not a function of "instinct" so much as nurture/personal preference. In traditional societies, families are seen as paramount. Religious/tribal notions often reinforce this familial pressure. Family, society, and tradition, reinforces it with enculturated expectations. Many times, especially in atomistic societies (such as this "modern" one), it's a function of existential angst. "What is my purpose without a family"? And it gives at least 20 or so years of solid "something" to pay attention and attend to for parents. It becomes its own reason for existing.. Why work? To help raise a family! Why go on vacation? To take your (or alternatively to get away from) family!. Why do anything? Because of family. It becomes its own built in purpose. But I am not giving justification for causing suffering, unnecessarily (because it gives YOU purpose), only providing some reasons for the procreation inclination. Again, I don't look down on or castigate parents, or people that want kids. They are generally good people, trying to do the right thing, generally. Though of course, there are also plenty of horrible parents as well, but all of this is besides the point. I am just addressing this idea that AN is cold-hearted or doesn't understand that perspective. Most thoughtful ANs do, they just don't think it is relevant in countering or addressing the issue at hand in the ethical consideration.


    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

    So this isn't quite true. It is more than just suffering. If it was just suffering, I would consider myself a hedonic utilitarian or some such. It is rather about not using people by force recruiting them into projects that will harm them. Suffering matters here, but it is the particular nature of preventing suffering absolutely in the case of procreation that makes it exceptionally different than already-existing scenarios, where we are simply remediating suffering (doing the best with what we have, trading greater with lesser harms, negotiating our interests, etc.). Raising a child, forcing education, etc. then can be justified due to remediation measures for preventing greater suffering later on, it is argued. The prevention is not in play anymore. Since someone is born, they DO have interests, goals, etc. It would be wise to trade long terms harms for short term harms in some cases.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    It's not my job to try to convince every Harry, Dick, and Jane of their intransigent, unsound beliefs.schopenhauer1

    It’s not my job to demonstrate that the suffering that exists in life is only animating factor of ethics. That’s your job as an AN proponent. By simply avoiding the issue you sound like a flat-earther.

    The earth isn’t flat. I can argue that, point.
    Life is waaay more than suffering. I argued that. You don’t respond.
    Preventing suffering is NOT the highest good of ethics. I argued that, you failed to respond.

    If you are frustrated with me, I think it’s because you cherish suffering too much.

    Life is suffering is your strawman.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    It’s not my job to demonstrate that the suffering that exists in life is only animating factor of ethics.Fire Ologist

    Way to ignore my whole post for making this (weak) rhetorical flourish :roll:

    That’s your job as an AN proponent. By simply avoiding the issue you sound like a flat-earther.Fire Ologist

    I made a whole post, for the Nth TIME, laying out my case, in a pretty lengthy detailed way. This is so uncharitable and untrue as to be laughable at this point. This is the kind of thing where I can respond with a million different lengthy treatises, and you will just dismiss them (without actually addressing the points) so as to constantly make me repeat my points. It's a argumentative overextension. At some point, in debates like these, you acknowledge that the points have been addressed, and you either need to think more on it, or you simply disagree an lay out your counter-arguments.

    Life is waaay more than suffering. I argued that. You don’t respond.Fire Ologist

    That is a strawman because I never made that point! Keep using bad faith arguments though if you think that is "winning" you rhetorical points.

    If you are frustrated with me, I think it’s because you cherish suffering too much.

    Life is suffering is your strawman.
    Fire Ologist

    No I'm frustrated with you because you have not actually understood what I have written, you are uncharitable, and you are making straw man arguments of my points. I think that's pretty good reasons to be frustrated! You can stop arguing now, because it looks like this is just turning into bad faith ones. This last post has now proven it for me at least. You can say you're bad faith response to this, but that would just be proving it more now. I'll entertain good faith arguments, but in these last posts, I have now seen I am arguing with someone who doesn't care to actually debate, just antagonize, so good day.
  • Fire Ologist
    493


    Schop,
    I’m not trying to be uncharitable. I’ve told you that anyone who wants to prevent suffering has their heart in the right place.

    Answer me one question, is the fact that life is suffering a key premise to your argument or not?

    Or better is the fact that some degree of suffering is entailed in every life a key premise to your argument or not?

    Frankly don’t know why this is antagonizing. I’m trying to debate the logic of AN. It’s all so clear to you that you think I’m acting in bad faith because I’m not just following along the path that follows from the premise “life is suffering” but “ethics are good for people” and “preventing suffering is good ethics” so “never procreating is living ethically.”

    To me it seems you are saying “there is enough suffering in every life that it is not debatable to evaluate that suffering as anything other than bad, harmful, fruitless, and unethical to inflict on another to any degree.

    I’m trying to debate that. You think that’s bad faith for some reason.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    It's NOT about the dignity of the PARENTS. Rather, it's about the dignity of the (future) child.schopenhauer1

    When I was arguing that we can’t be ethical towards a future person who does not exist, you went on and on about how it was not about the child. You said it was about the parent who was not inflicting suffering and preventing suffering and the non-presence of the child as recipient of the ethical behavior was irrelevant.

    Now when I argue that (because there is no child) the human dignity AN ethics is trying to preserve has to exist in the living person who acts ethically (by preventing suffering and not procreating) you say it’s about the dignity of the future child.

    I could level accusations of bad faith around too, but I’m just trying to point out the logical inconsistencies and am open to reasonable opposing views.

    For instance, instead of thinking I know how the never going to Chicago scenario is so different than the never having children scenario, why don’t you lay it out? I think they are similar.

    And instead of thinking I am fully aware of what I’m saying and acting in bad faith, show me how what I’m saying is not reasonable. Don’t just say it’s bad, show me.

    I don’t think you are acting in bad faith towards me - I think you are being illogical and I’m trying as many ways as I can to show you why it’s illogical. I could be wrong about what AN really is, or I could be wrong about how my arguments are unsound or invalid in themselves. But you haven’t shown me otherwise. And instead like calling me a bad faith straw man builder. Over and over.

    Are you really going to leave this conversation without showing me MORE CLEARLY how I am wrong?
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    How do you explain people who value being "child-free"?schopenhauer1

    There is no need to. We are are discussing the logic of ending procreation to make the world more ethical and prevent future suffering.

    There is a law that murder is wrong. The fact that I am never inclined to murder and likely never will be makes it easy for me to follow that law. That’s a different conversation than whether “murder is wrong” is a good law, is something universal everyone should follow, and something we should teach all to understand. Even if we logically showed “murder is good” I still wouldn’t murder.

    The question is only is AN sound ethics?

    I can only present the argument faithfully and to the best of my ability and they can do whatever they want. They can handle snakes, pray to their god, say their holy Hosannas, spout out nonsense, red herring non-sequitors on an internet forumschopenhauer1

    I am trying to use logic only. I never raised any of these non-sequitors. You did, which makes it a non-sequitor to the conversation I’m having.

    I only point this out to show you how much I’m trying to avoid bad faith. I’m sticking to the text and bringing up logical issues with it and new premises (like suffering is of less import and less valuable than the life of the one who suffers). I’m not resorting to anything else but my observations and wits - no insulting references to religious practices.

    I’m not belittling the AN person - I’m attacking the logic behind the conclusion that in order to be ethical, we should not procreate.

    If AN is an issue of personal faith, like other “holy hosannas and spouting out other nonsense, then I wouldn’t be arguing the way I am. But it’s a logical, ethical stance. One that doesn’t seem sound to me.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Frankly don’t know why this is antagonizing. I’m trying to debate the logic of AN.Fire Ologist

    Because I had a long post and you ignored it. Yes it's about suffering. Duh. But it's not suffering "tout court" in this case. It's about what surrounds it. The context. In this case the context that occurs when deciding to procreate.

    To me it seems you are saying “there is enough suffering in every life that it is not debatable to evaluate that suffering as anything other than bad, harmful, fruitless, and unethical to inflict on another to any degree.Fire Ologist

    Nope, I am not saying that at all really because again, this is not my argument.

    Are you really going to leave this conversation without showing me MORE CLEARLY how I am wrong?Fire Ologist

    Yeah I am ready to do just that because as with even this last post, you misconstrue it, make it into your own version of an argument (straw man), and then ask why I'm pissed.

    I could level accusations of bad faith around too, but I’m just trying to point out the logical inconsistencies and am open to reasonable opposing views.Fire Ologist

    But you're not.

    And instead of thinking I am fully aware of what I’m saying and acting in bad faith, show me how what I’m saying is not reasonable. Don’t just say it’s bad, show me.Fire Ologist

    I had a whole freakn' post with a bunch of detail you ignored.

    But you haven’t shown me otherwise. And instead like calling me a bad faith straw man builder. Over and over.Fire Ologist

    No, I don't have to prove shit to you. It's time for you to actually do some work in understanding my argument.

    There is no need to. We are are discussing the logic of ending procreation to make the world more ethical and prevent future suffering.

    There is a law that murder is wrong. The fact that I am never inclined to murder and likely never will be makes it easy for me to follow that law. That’s a different conversation than whether “murder is wrong” is a good law, is something universal everyone should follow, and something we should teach all to understand. Even if we logically showed “murder is good” I still wouldn’t murder.
    Fire Ologist

    Wow, you are so far from what the point of that was to prove. Try again.

    I am trying to use logic only. I never raised any of these non-sequitors. You did, which makes it a non-sequitor to the conversation I’m having.

    I only point this out to show you how much I’m trying to avoid bad faith. I’m sticking to the text and bringing up logical issues with it and new premises (like suffering is of less import and less valuable than the life of the one who suffers). I’m not resorting to anything else but my observations and wits - no insulting references to religious practices.

    I’m not belittling the AN person - I’m attacking the logic behind the conclusion that in order to be ethical, we should not procreate.

    If AN is an issue of personal faith, like other “holy hosannas and spouting out other nonsense, then I wouldn’t be arguing the way I am. But it’s a logical, ethical stance. One that doesn’t seem sound to me.
    Fire Ologist

    You are barely sticking to the text. Try again.
  • Fire Ologist
    493


    Link to a post where you think I’m not responding to you. The clear “here is the AN argument and here is why it is the most logical ethic” post or posts.

    I don’t see why you think the things I’m saying are not relevant or in bad faith. Spell it out or give up.

    I keep rephrasing what I think you are saying to show you clearly what I think you are saying, and then I post my objections.

    I’m playing as fair as I can despite your accusations.

    You just respond to my objections by calling me names.

    How about laying out your argument, or linking to something you already said the for Nth time.

    I’ll try it again anyway.

    Is this AN??:

    1. Living entails suffering.
    2. Causing someone else to suffer (without their consent?) is bad (immoral, unethical), and preventing suffering or future suffering is good.
    3. Procreation brings about new life, and the suffering entailed in that new life.
    Therefore, procreation is a violation of the ethical rule stated in 2, procreation causes unconsented future suffering, and AN is the more ethical stance.

    Is that AN? I am not sure whether consent is needed in the ethical rule of 2.

    And instead of jabbing at wherever I have it wrong, show me where it is wrong, incomplete, unclear, but leave in the parts where it is right or clear (if any) so this can be a discussion that builds on prior assertions we’ve made. Lay it out so that I say “Wow, I did sound like I was in bad faith. I did have it all wrong.” Or really the point of any conversation, show me so I say “Schop was right, AN makes sense.”

    Work in the asymmetry. I’m sure I would screw that up if I tried. Maybe it’s not essential to sure up the argument.

    Work in the fact that specific future people do not matter to take the AN ethical stance towards them (as you said to correct me), but that the dignity of future people is the point of AN (as you said to correct me). And maybe address the issue of these two seeming (to me) to be incompatible.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    Yes it's about suffering. Duh. But it's not suffering "tout court" in this case. It's about what surrounds it. The context. In this case the context that occurs when deciding to procreate.schopenhauer1

    Suffering itself is a physical, mental lived experience.

    The context around suffering, to me, would be the body and its environment, or the psychology - both interacting between the suffering subject.

    The deciding to procreate doesn’t make sense to me as the context surrounding the suffering. You need to be more precise.

    Do you mean some suffering is neutral, not good or bad, but other suffering, like future suffering cause by procreating is good or bad, and in the CAE of AN, bad?

    Don’t follow needing to think of the context of suffering to understand the arguments.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    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.Fire Ologist

    Right, somewhat fair. In this case, I think it would take that accounting exercise though. Again, in the individual circumstance your delusion(Trademark - lol) is a + for your experience but I'm unsure why this matters. I also suffer the above-noted delusion but I'm still aware of all the suffering outside myself - with the addition of my being relatively sure I'm wrong about my own life. The former aspect is far more important than the suffering I actually acknowledge in my own life, as I see it. Forgive the somewhat combative nature of that approach too - it was tongue-in-cheek.

    “because your life is mostly suffering, you should not procreate.”Fire Ologist

    No, no. Let me be clear. This is wrong. I have struck through the erroneous word that I think is doing a lot of lifting. Without that word, it becomes as described in the first response paragraph in this post. Its actually pretty damn key to remember that zooming in on a specific life is the wrong method here, and I just don't see it as relevant in the wider discussion because of the potential that you're just simply wrong about your quality of life - despite that wrongness improving your quality of life hehe (though, noting that almost no antinatalists think suicide is a reasonable response to any of life, once it gets going).

    They are all glad I “inflicted” life on them.Fire Ologist

    Because they are alive. You're doing the wrong calculation. Suffice to say, your point here stands but your reasons for it are simply not at all relevant to coming to conclusions on whether to have more children versus what you think about your existing children, or what they think of you. They are already alive. Not in the discussion, as individuals.

    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.Fire Ologist

    And yet, the individual stories aren't relevant and the aggregates are. *shrug*. Not an uncommon reality.

    Two things: 1.Fire Ologist

    I think you're wrong and I can't find any intuition as to how your reversed version could be reasonable as an assumption.

    But 2.Fire Ologist

    That wasn't really asserted. I've been very clear that what I think about any particular life isn't relevant (nor is what you think, for that matter). I'm unsure how better to explain that?

    Your position seems to result in the notion that it is never permissible to require behaviours from people who are ignorant of the harm those behaviours cause, because they don't report the harm. IF you're consistent in that, I can't really fault your reasoning But i think you're wrong about the states of affairs. If we all accept that life is on balance, a shit experience, having kids would be morally wrong ipso facto - no law needed. Having kids at 80 (males) is in this box. No one thinks Al Pacino isn't all hunky dory for being a father to his newborn at his age. Most agree it's wrong.

    The AN position is not this.I like sushi

    This is somewhat false. Many antinatalists would prefer there were restrictions on procreation on ethical grounds. Otherwise, your description is good.

    ou're all missing the mark to some degree.schopenhauer1

    I'm not.

    The argument relies on the asymmetry of preventing suffering and not preventing suffering.schopenhauer1

    Not quite. This is what supports it. It relies on the state of affairs being that suffering is the overwhelming mode of experience for humans.
    The a-symmetry simply supports the ethical solution of not procreating. Not the position itself.

    I thought we were talking about ethics, a moral law.Fire Ologist

    We were - i tried to take your posts as this. I've responded to the additional comment above as-if. I didn't take you to be insinuating common law.

    But often being angry about something means there is something of consideration that you find worthy of having to be addressed.schopenhauer1

    This is why I have a semi-constant smirk on. Every time I've been pressed on this by non-philosophers they get quite angry at their inability to find fault. I think people assume i'm telling them their choice to have children makes them worse people in my eyes

    AN defeats it’s own good, which are ethical human beings.Fire Ologist

    I think this is wrong. If the goal is to reduce suffering in humans, eliminating humans is its ultimate good. The fact that Ethics then cease to exists doesn't say anything about it. No humans is a success.

    A further comment on the a-symmetry being leaned on here: It is a crucial part of hte position, but you can actually jettison this and still hold AN views. This is why you can see it supports the action rather htan the position. A lot of people will say "Ok, but why would that mean I shouldn't have kids?" and the a-symmetry comes in.
    But this also, and it needs to be clearly understood, makes it obvious that the AN accepts that nearly every living person should continue living as death causes a large proportion of the suffering being calculated.
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    And yet, the individual stories aren't relevant and the aggregates are. *shrug*. Not an uncommon realityAmadeusD

    The individual stories aren’t relevant individually, but in order for the aggregate to display more or less suffering, you can’t gather individual stories about wood-working - you need individual stories that provide some insight into suffering levels.

    f the goal is to reduce suffering in humans, eliminating humans is its ultimate good. The fact that Ethics then cease to exists doesn't say anything about it. No humans is a success.AmadeusD

    This sounds more pragmatic or utilitarian. Which may be the best spin on AN. If we treat humans like any other animal and for whatever reason want to reduce the suffering of humans, we could end procreation and let it all fade out.

    I’m just saying if we humans think our ethics and morals are so important that we must live by them and uphold them above our own instincts and choose not to procreate for the sake of being moral and “good”, then we are defeating the seat of ethics in the world along with the lives that could have otherwise recognized and lived ethically; “because it is wrong to inflict suffering” is an ethic, and if this ethic is the reason we act, and our actions are to never procreate, then we are not only removing all of the suffering humans from the universe, but the ethics that inspired their removal in the first place.
  • AmadeusD
    2k
    No one has explained how it is logical for an AN person to say “thou shalt not procreate” but, after a person breaks that rule and gets pregnant, how they can also say “it is permissible to get an abortion.” That would mean, it is wrong to create a newly conceived fetus, because that causes suffering, but once you create one, you can still kill it. Where is the internal logic there?Fire Ologist

    I missed this, so will give my response here, and then add responses to your most recent below:

    Ah, but this is entirely fine and there's nothing wrong with those two positions. It is wrong to bring a fetus to term because thence begins suffering. Being pregnant, per se, isn't an issue. If you were 100% sure to miscarry every child you ever had implanted in your womb - go for gold, but get a therapist.
    An abortion prevents the human life entering the pool of suffering. There's no failure in logic that i can see unless there's some underlying imports i'm not grasping.

    you need individual stories that provide some insight into suffering levels.Fire Ologist

    I agree, and in the process of getting to the 'data set' these are meaningful, just not to antinatalism. It's the contour of the aggregation that's used in this discussion, rather than the fine-grain you're at(or were before).

    If we treat humans like any other animal and for whatever reason want to reduce the suffering of humans, we could end procreation and let it all fade out.Fire Ologist

    I think, in a poetic sense, this is more or less where most antinatalists lie. Just don't do anything to increase the number of people. The rest can take care of itself, if we dodge an asteroid in the meantime.
    we are not only removing all of the suffering humans from the universe, but the ethics that inspired their removal in the first place.Fire Ologist

    Yes. I see no issue, though. The ethic which leads us to remove bigotry would be defeated by a defeat (removal) of all bigotry in the world. This is an oddity of most ethical views, but they are about how to act. If we can't act, its not up for consideration I think.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k

    Read this more carefully. Then re-read it. Make sure you can summarize the main points to yourself. Then when you answer, probably best to go paragraph by paragraph and ask a question if you don't understand, or raise an objection to discrete points, but don't lose track of the bigger picture each point is trying to paint. Here it is again:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/915425
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Not quite. This is what supports it. It relies on the state of affairs being that suffering is the overwhelming mode of experience for humans.
    The a-symmetry simply supports the ethical solution of not procreating. Not the position itself.
    AmadeusD

    So the initial asymmetry is presented by Benatar as the following:
    3 the absence of pain is good, even if that good is not enjoyed by anyone;
    4. the absence of pleasure is not bad unless there is somebody for whom this absence is a deprivation.

    So I further explain this asymmetry by reformulating it a bit. The reason is because people often think that 3 runs into the "non-identity" issue because it is an impersonal "good". In other words, "Who" is benefiting from the absence of pain? And if no one, then how is it in any sense "good"?

    Now, I think this is easily defeated in modal understanding of future conditionals. That is to say, we just say "It is a good state of affairs" that no one was harmed, WHEN THERE VERY WELL COULD HAVE BEEN SOMEONE HARMED. That's all that is needed to defeat this point.

    However, even if someone had a weird metaphysics that denies future conditional states of affairs, you can rephrase the asymmetry as this:
    1) Having a person will cause the harm/cause the breaking of some principle. This is a bad situation.
    2) Not having a person will not cause the harm/cause the breaking of some principle. This can be either good or neutral situation, it doesn't matter.

    All that matters in this is 1 (the bad situation) doesn't obtain.
  • I like sushi
    4.4k
    This is somewhat false. Many antinatalists would prefer there were restrictions on procreation on ethical grounds. Otherwise, your description is good.AmadeusD

    Explain what kind of "restrictions" you are talking about here. You might be correct as a great many of people with a shallow understanding of the principles involved would encourage this quite strongly (people who watched a youtube video and decided it sounded about right). Anyone with a more thorough understanding in favour of enforcing such ideas by law are extreme radicals and should probably be treated with contempt by everyone else (they will be by me for sure).
  • Fire Ologist
    493
    Again, you have failedschopenhauer1

    wearing out my patience…stop misconstruing and strawmanning itschopenhauer1

    You told me to read it carefully and read it again and parse it out with questions. I don’t suppose you meant me to do that with the above.

    Rather, it's about the dignity of the (future) child. […] That is say, no person exists to be violated prior to procreation. The violation only takes place once procreation occurs.schopenhauer1

    Ok, the violation occurs when procreation happens. But you didn’t say the rule that’s violated (and I’m not going to dare to assume anything). The violation of what rule specifically in your words for me to parse out?

    But I got this rule is violated once procreation occurs.

    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!).schopenhauer1

    That sounds like a rule in there. The rule seems to be to “prevent harm when possible, especially when unnecessary.” Then, once procreation happens and the rule has been violated, you move to a different rule where, if there is harm already done “a set of actions is needed to remediate it.”

    I think you said before AN has nothing to do with remediative actions. Which makes sense since AN is a pre-procreation moral guidance.

    in a given context of a society means having to move about in public spaces- in the situatedness of a social sphere. This means, inevitably you will cause unintentional harm.schopenhauer1

    This seems to be about a wider moral position, and has stepped outside of a narrow focus on AN. The above all talks about how to treat other currently living people. In this context, and if I got the rule right, the rule being: “prevent harm when possible, especially when unnecessary”, in the wider context of other living people we still must try to prevent harm, especially when unnecessary, but there can be harmed caused that is “unintentional harm.” And any step we take is towards remediation, not prevention first.

    [Could negligent behavior blur the line between preventative and remediative acts? Is there a duty to try to prevent negligence, and while some acts are purely unintentional, others are wanton and grossly negligent sorts that we all have a duty to prevent? This is a tangent - forget the question.]

    Positive ethics DOES matter in the sphere of existing to some extent, as long as it doesn't unnecessarily violate others. Remember the bridge argument? The fishermen want to catch the biggest fish of their life. It's blocking YOUR right to go to your car. Whatever pleasure they get from fishing and the collateral damage of causing your harm, it was unnecessary to "recruit" you into their project. This is different than being one car of many in traffic "recruiting" you into traffic. With the road situation, it is tacitly accepted that this is part of how roads worked. However, if a car wanted to stop traffic so they can look out the side of the road at some attraction, that is now falling into unnecessary "recruiting" territory.schopenhauer1

    I sum this up as making the point that what is wrong about procreation is that we are recruiting a future person into a life of suffering, and failing to prevent obviously unnecessary suffering.

    I can only present the argument faithfully and to the best of my abilityschopenhauer1

    I think you are making me do all the work and judging by your abilities you could do it way better, and tighter. You just don’t want to waste your time on a bad faith opponent - well you’re judging me harshly. I’m doing my best too.

    I think people can be great parents, and are good people, but that procreation is still wrong.schopenhauer1

    I get it’s a tough moral choice to make. That was in The Revealers too.

    The ethic is to not unnecessarily create more people that suffer, and to force people into a world based on one's own estimation of how much suffering is good (especially since the amount and kind of suffering for another is unknown as just a fact of the matter). It's then the inclination that must be re-educated, not the ethic.schopenhauer1

    You said “especially since the amount of suffering is unknown.” That adds an interesting element. “Amount of suffering” as a concept, plus this amount being “unknown.”

    I don’t think the amount of suffering matters, and I don’t think the fact of suffering is unknown. We know every time we procreate we are recruiting someone into suffering. Period. Right?

    As far as the re-education, I agree it would be in the face of inclinations and old habits. But I’m still trying to parse out the content of the education. That is a 2.0 discussion about inclinations and where they come from and why someone might resist AN. I’m just sticking to what AN is.

    You even said yourself after talking about people who aren’t inclined to have kids, about religion and family as urging kids, as existential need for purpose.. “…Though of course, there are also plenty of horrible parents as well, but all of this is besides the point.”

    So I don’t think I need to parse that part out yet to focus on what AN is.

    I’m not intending to mischaracterize anything you are trying to explain, so if I do, that wasn’t my intent, so don’t accuse me of bad faith anymore, please. (If something is wrong, clarify it for me. Nothing wrong with wiping the blackboard clean and laying out a tight argument from the top again.)

    Then you said this:

    It is more than just suffering. If it was just suffering, I would consider myself a hedonic utilitarian or some such. It is rather about not using people by force recruiting them into projects that will harm them. Suffering matters here, but it is the particular nature of preventing suffering absolutely in the case of procreation that makes it exceptionally different than already-existing scenarios,schopenhauer1

    So it is more about not forcing someone to be born at all, regardless of any suffering; it is about how “recruiting them into projects” is wrong. The fact that it is a project “that will harm them” makes it all the worse, but “it is more than just suffering. […] It is rather about not using people by force.”

    This is why you don’t like my arguments about the amount of suffering. Suffering in life is a part of what is wrong about procreation, but it is the involuntary recruitment that might be the real heart of the rule that is violated.

    So I had the rule as (trying to quote you) “ prevent the harm if possible, especially if it is unnecessary to let the harm happen in the first place.” But there is a second rule or complication to the rule (again that I hope you will clarify) something like (as tight as I can make to build less room for misinterpretation): “do not impose harm, especially when it can be avoided.”

    So this confuses “prevent” with “not impose”. But I am seeing AN as more saying “do not impose” in order to get the involuntary recruitment aspect into it.

    But that undermines all of the time spent parsing out “prevent” from “remediate”. That wasn’t really the issue. And that issue was related to the suffering, where first you must prevent suffering, but then once procreation happens and you are with the currently living you are following a rule relating to remediating suffering. But we also said that the suffering isn’t the heart of the issue.

    So I think all of the arguments over prevent versus remediate and suffering and amounts of suffering, were off the mark (or at least my objections and rebuttals to those aspects of the arguments were off the mark). Because that wasn’t the real heart of the problem. That’s why it can be ok to cause some suffering in living people, because they can consent to that suffering.

    The mark for AN has to do with the lack of consent to live at all.

    It is wrong to force a being into existence when no such being could give its consent, therefore one should not procreate.

    Is this right?

    Suffering matters here, but it is the particular nature of preventing suffering absolutely in the case of procreation that makes it exceptionally different than already-existing scenarios, where we are simply remediating suffering (doing the best with what we have, trading greater with lesser harms, negotiating our interests, etc.).schopenhauer1

    It is right. It sounds right to me. I still don’t think I’m mischaracterizing anything you are saying.

    And I also still think it can all be summed up in a tighter argument where every word counts better than I’ve done here. I’m not sure if the best formulation of the rule involved ( “prevent harm” or “not imposing harm”).

    There are holes that I can’t seem to fill, and that I’m afraid to fill for fear of “strawmanning”!!

    There is an apparent vacillation on the place of the future non-existing baby that is both prevented from existing (as a future possible baby), and in which suffering is prevented from existing. I know that the baby never exists when the rule is followed and no violation occurs. But the rule itself seems to invoke the existence of a baby that cannot give its consent, to whom life is being imposed involuntarily; there’s a tension there that you (not me) introduce into the text. The existence of the baby seems to matter (actual) and not matter (potential) to the world this ethic describes.

    And I still see a hole in the value of suffering to the AN argument. Something needs further clarity here. Does AN hold its ground regardless of any suffering or not?

    But I’ve gone too far astray from the text.

    Before you respond to all of the things I got wrong, can you at least admit how far I DO seem to understand it? Most of this whole post was me trying to restate you without causing any cringing.
  • schopenhauer1
    10.4k
    Before you respond to all of the things I got wrong, can you at least admit how far I DO seem to understand it? Most of this whole post was me trying to restate you without causing any cringing.Fire Ologist

    Yes, thank you for actually trying to analyze and parse out the arguments. I appreciate that, and now we can have a much more interesting discussion :clap: because we are not talking so past each other, but seriously engaged in the content. This was actually very good, along the lines I was looking for.

    That sounds like a rule in there. The rule seems to be to “prevent harm when possible, especially when unnecessary.” Then, once procreation happens and the rule has been violated, you move to a different rule where, if there is harm already done “a set of actions is needed to remediate it.”Fire Ologist

    Correct.

    I think you said before AN has nothing to do with remediative actions. Which makes sense since AN is a pre-procreation moral guidance.Fire Ologist

    :up:

    This seems to be about a wider moral position, and has stepped outside of a narrow focus on AN. The above all talks about how to treat other currently living people. In this context, and if I got the rule right, the rule being: “prevent harm when possible, especially when unnecessary”, in the wider context of other living people we still must try to prevent harm, especially when unnecessary, but there can be harmed caused that is “unintentional harm.” And any step we take is towards remediation, not prevention first.Fire Ologist

    Correct

    [Could negligent behavior blur the line between preventative and remediative acts? Is there a duty to try to prevent negligence, and while some acts are purely unintentional, others are wanton and grossly negligent sorts that we all have a duty to prevent? This is a tangent - forget the question.]Fire Ologist

    Absolutely, but as further down it discusses that once born, "positive ethics" does come into play (people's interests, goals), complete avoidance of harm, and to what point negligence matters is a sticky situation. But correct, at this point tangential so can be tabled for another thread/discussion. AN does not matter for these cases being that it's still remediation, and then a matter of "To what degree?"

    I sum this up as making the point that what is wrong about procreation is that we are recruiting a future person into a life of suffering, and failing to prevent obviously unnecessary suffering.Fire Ologist

    Correct. There are multiple violations here having to do with violating someone's dignity, encapsulated with "Don't harm" and Don't violate people's autonomy" (both of them being further grouped as types of the principle "Don't use/mess with people", but I'll explain that later).

    You said “especially since the amount of suffering is unknown.” That adds an interesting element. “Amount of suffering” as a concept, plus this amount being “unknown.”

    I don’t think the amount of suffering matters, and I don’t think the fact of suffering is unknown. We know every time we procreate we are recruiting someone into suffering. Period. Right?
    Fire Ologist

    Correct, but with a caveat. The non-harm/autonomy principles were violated, and it was unnecessary (no remediative reason for it), so in an absolute sense, always wrong. However, I don't discount that the extent of suffering is in play. But it is in play to the detriment of the pro-natalist argument, not the other way around. Whereas, if no one was born, literally no one would be deprived (non-identity issue) of the goods of life, once born there will be suffering/harm as a fact. And it is empirically true that this world holds a great deal of it in known and unknown quantities. That adds to the antinatalist case. It also leads into the idea that if we distill down the (six or so to my estimation) goods of life, causing people suffering so they can experience the goods is problematic itself in breaking the ethic of "not using people" (by unnecessarily harming them, and "messing" with them/violating other people's autonomy).

    As far as the re-education, I agree it would be in the face of inclinations and old habits. But I’m still trying to parse out the content of the education. That is a 2.0 discussion about inclinations and where they come from and why someone might resist AN. I’m just sticking to what AN is.

    You even said yourself after talking about people who aren’t inclined to have kids, about religion and family as urging kids, as existential need for purpose.. “…Though of course, there are also plenty of horrible parents as well, but all of this is besides the point.”

    So I don’t think I need to parse that part out yet to focus on what AN is.
    Fire Ologist

    Yes, my point to bring that in the discussion was many people, and I believe earlier you did as well, try to invoke some procreative/natural "necessity" into the human psyche. But I am encountering with empirical evidence that humans don't even work that way. Rather, we are very much learned/cultural/existential/deliberative creatures, and less so "instinctual". This gets into a lot of side avenues of discussion but generally what I was getting at is that "Wanting to procreate" or "Wanting to have kids" is not an instinct but a (very culturally weighted) preference. Childfree-people and their GROWTH as societies get more educated (that is, away from familial and tribal and religious pressures), they tend to become more individualistic, and PREFER to procreate less over time. That to me indicates that "wanting kids" is not instinctual but very much contingent on social and existential pressures. I also mentioned that it's simply a personal preference one takes on because for many, it seems like an ultimate "purpose" because it is so all-encompassing. Also, I am acknowledging that this is a hard decision and a powerful "inclination" for many people. I am explaining possible origins, but also disregarding that any of it is relevant to the moral considerations at hand. Thus it's a classic case of "inclination" vs. "morality". You feel a "loss", but what if I told you that this feeling of "loss" can be transferred to any number of things that one might miss out on? (trips, experiences, rights of passage, etc.). This is a bit outlandish, but imagine a young Spartan who was all prepared to do all sorts of horrible things to their helot slaves. It was a right of passage they were looking forward to, but Athens takes over Sparta (this didn't happen) and forces Sparta to stop the practice of killing helots as a right of passage. Does the young Spartan have a right to feel a sense of loss? That's all he's ever known or looked forward to. Obviously, I recognize procreation is so integral to society as to be a matter of course and thus deemed as irrevocably different than the "obvious" example of inclination and preference I provided. But isn't this the point of these debates on this topic? That perhaps our normative understanding IS incorrect, and we must re-evaluate?

    So it is more about not forcing someone to be born at all, regardless of any suffering; it is about how “recruiting them into projects” is wrong. The fact that it is a project “that will harm them” makes it all the worse, but “it is more than just suffering. […] It is rather about not using people by force.”

    This is why you don’t like my arguments about the amount of suffering. Suffering in life is a part of what is wrong about procreation, but it is the involuntary recruitment that might be the real heart of the rule that is violated.

    So I had the rule as (trying to quote you) “ prevent the harm if possible, especially if it is unnecessary to let the harm happen in the first place.” But there is a second rule or complication to the rule (again that I hope you will clarify) something like (as tight as I can make to build less room for misinterpretation): “do not impose harm, especially when it can be avoided.”
    Fire Ologist

    Yes good catch on the two themes/points of violation here. Roughly they correspond to non-harm principle violation (don't unnecessarily cause harm), and autonomy principle (don't unnecessarily mess with people/ violate their autonomy). And thus, as you state, the extent of suffering is not the crux of the position, but it can inform it. Why? Because part of the "non-harm" principle entails two things:

    1) Known harm
    2) Unknown harm

    So the violation happens because you know there is harm, but you choose to impose it anyways. And you know that you cannot know "unknown harm" that might befall someone- so you are gambling with other people (again all these are principles of using someone.. harm/autonomy, etc.).

    And this brings me to another point, that of the notion of "aggressive paternalism". This is the stance one takes when they deem that it is OK to violate these deontological principles of non-harm/autonomy (to use people). That is where this notion of "Your positive ethics does NOT justify violating someone else's negative ethics".

    So I think all of the arguments over prevent versus remediate and suffering and amounts of suffering, were off the mark (or at least my objections and rebuttals to those aspects of the arguments were off the mark). Because that wasn’t the real heart of the problem. That’s why it can be ok to cause some suffering in living people, because they can consent to that suffering.Fire Ologist

    Nice takeaway, and good example of walking through the dialectic and how it relates to the arguments and seeing where some errors could be on initial interpretations and arguments.

    The mark for AN has to do with the lack of consent to live at all.

    It is wrong to force a being into existence when no such being could give its consent, therefore one should not procreate.

    Is this right?
    Fire Ologist

    Yes, but I don't think the rule relies solely on consent. There is definitely the principle of non-harm, so you can combine it with what you were getting at earlier, "One should not cause unnecessary harm, or violate someone's autonomy (consent)" This is an example of the more basic principle of "Do not use people". And to violate this would be to take a stance of "aggressive paternalism" where you deem "Ok to violate other people's negative ethics for the cause of one's own positive ethics". In other words, "You deem what is best for others, even if that brings with it harms/suffering for others."

    It is right. It sounds right to me. I still don’t think I’m mischaracterizing anything you are saying.Fire Ologist

    :up:

    And I also still think it can all be summed up in a tighter argument where every word counts better than I’ve done here. I’m not sure if the best formulation of the rule involved ( “prevent harm” or “not imposing harm”).Fire Ologist

    Indeed, I also wonder this because, as you stated, they both convey different but related ideas. You are preventing harm AND imposing harm. In the negative sense, you are not violating non-harm. In the positive sense, you WILL be imposing harm, presumably for some positive ethic. You are IMPOSING a project, creating unnecessary harm (aggressive paternalism- feelings that one has the right to violate negative ethics for one's own estimation of what should be/positive ethics).

    But the rule itself seems to invoke the existence of a baby that cannot give its consent, to whom life is being imposed involuntarily; there’s a tension there that you (not me) introduce into the text. The existence of the baby seems to matter (actual) and not matter (potential) to the world this ethic describes.Fire Ologist

    This is why I reformulate the general "asymmetry" here. Even though I might say that a potential child not born is "good" for not suffering. You might say that it is neutral. And I am willing to say that I am okay with this. We can say in fact, that prior to procreation, no ethical thing is happening good or bad. It is only one way that it is bad, the scenario of procreation. There may not be an equivalent "good", just "not bad".

    And I still see a hole in the value of suffering to the AN argument. Something needs further clarity here. Does AN hold its ground regardless of any suffering or not?Fire Ologist

    This is indeed a whole discussion in itself. But to be brief, this is answered by being contra the "aggressive paternalism" stance. That is to say, it is hubris to assume for others that there is a certain amount of suffering that is acceptable or even "good for someone" to take place, even if it doesn't have to. You are indeed violating someone's dignity (using them) because you deem a certain set of positive principles as above and beyond the violation of someone else's negative principles.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this "close/charitable" read! Now we can have productive conversations around the same set of ideas rather than talking past each other. Even if we disagree, we are at least doing it on the correct set of ideas, or at least near close to it (I'm sure we will still talk past each other).
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