• Txastopher
    118
    Is there a rational basis upon which to bring children into the world (I'm thinking developed countries with some kind of welfare system)?

    I have children, yet, as I look back, I sense my urge to procreate was anything but the result of a reasoned analysis. Indeed, since I was under no obligation, had no need, and did not I know if I would enjoy the experience, it strikes me as alarmingly arbitrary.

    It seems that merely wanting children, no matter how much, is no rationale for actually having them; especially when this 'want' appears to have qualities of a biological trap set by evolutionary psychology.

    (I posted this question earlier on today, but it disappeared. Since I have not received any communication to cause me to think otherwise, I am assuming that reposting it is acceptable)
  • Posty McPostface
    5.1k
    I'm not quite sure. I feel as though, there's a dichotomy being drawn between 'rationality' and 'human nature' here. Seems fallacious to me, as if one can speak about 'rationality' while excluding 'human nature' from the discussion. It might be rational to some farmer growing stuff on a field that needs extra help from his children or some such matter. But, then what, how do you draw the line between what is rational and human nature?
  • T Clark
    3k
    Is there a rational basis upon which to bring children into the world (I'm thinking developed countries with some kind of welfare system)?jastopher

    I could make rational arguments for having children, but I think it is rare that people have children for rational reasons. My wife and I certainly didn't, although we were fairly rational about when we would have them. There was a recent discussion "Are there any non-selfish reasons for having children?" that dealt with similar issues.

    It seems that merely wanting children, no matter how much, is no rationale for actually having them; especially when this 'want' appears to have qualities of a biological trap set by evolutionary psychology.jastopher

    Ah, yes. You've been trapped into being human.
  • NKBJ
    316


    Pending various conditional claims, yes, I believe it can be rational to have children. Those conditionals include (but are not limited to):

    If you have the material conditions to support another person until independence.
    If you reasonably believe you are capable of providing a psychologically sound home (loving, caring, mentally stable, able to provide structure, etc, etc).
    If you genuinely want the companionship of this person-to-be, including most types of person s/he could turn out to be.
    If you have reason to think your child will not be an undue burden on others(besides your partner)
    or society.

    Basically, a mature adult in the right circumstances can rationally indulge in his/her natural instincts.

    Sadly, too many people have kids for the wrong reasons under the wrong circumstances....which can of course turn out fine, but more often than not turns out poorly.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    (I posted this question earlier on today, but it disappeared. Since I have not received any communication to cause me to think otherwise, I am assuming that reposting it is acceptable)jastopher

    I made a thread that was basically identical to this one not long ago. That could be why.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    Reproduction is the default. It isn't so much a "trap" set, as a way forward provided. Most people seem to enjoy raising children, at least in retrospect.


    Should one look more for compelling reasons to have children than for compelling reasons to not have children?

    I am neither a parent nor an antinatalist, but it does seem to me that the children born today, their children, and their grand children (giving a 25-30 year value for a generation) may see the world turning increasingly into a world made unlivable by global warming. It won't be unlivable everywhere in 2100-2150, but by 2100 the world will be a lot hotter with severe weather and population disruptions as billions of people who have not yet starved or died of thirst try to find inhabited places to live.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    I made a thread that was basically identical to this not long ago.Thorongil

    Harmonic convergence, I suppose. I said the same thing there that I said here. So will we all, I suppose.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k

    Welcome to the forum. I'm a resident antinatalist here and have many threads on this you might want to read. There have been some recent ones actually here:

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/3277/modern-man-is-alienated-from-production/p1

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/3306/are-there-any-non-selfish-reasons-for-having-children/p1

    The general position is that life has too much suffering and therefore not worth starting for another. I usually break down the suffering into two categories:

    Contingent suffering: Contingent suffering is the suffering that is contingent on situational context. These are things like disease, illness, natural disasters, physical and emotional anguish, etc. We all know that some people "have it better" than others in terms of illnesses, bad experiences, suffering experienced etc.

    Structural suffering: Being a human means coping with systemic futility. Systemic futility comprises:

    1) Repetitive acts of living
    2) The hedonic treadmill phenomena of finding "novel" goods in life that can't last
    3) Being deprived of some preference or state at almost all time (deprivationalism)
    4) The emptiness behind all pursuits

    Lately I have tried to hit on themes of science, technology, work, and production. The reason for this is these are concepts which people use as a rebuttal against antinatalism. However, there is an emptiness behind all endeavors. Science and technology qua science and technology are but layers we put around the emptiness. We create more stuff, but it doesn't get anywhere. Also, science and technology are used as ways to justify why it is permissible to have children. But every generation thinks that their generation is good enough.

    By being born we are forced to make actions. Those actions fall broadly within three camps: survival (in a cultural context), maintenance/comfort-seeking (i.e. doing dishes, cleaning, turning up the heat, turning on the air conditioning, etc.), and boredom fleeing (i.e. playing cards with a group of friends, writing the great American novel, reading academic tomes about biological structures, etc.). There is never a time when you are not forced to make actions. You are also prone to the contingency of your environment, your genetics, and surroundings. The combined aspect of being impinged upon by the contingency of you environment and the constant existential responsibility of having to take action (usually for the three camps of survival, comfort, boredom-fleeing), this can be considered an unnecessary burden for a future person.

    You must ask yourself what is it you want the child that will be born to really experience or do? If it is survive, maintain their comfort levels, and flee boredom, that seems to be an unnecessary and futile reason to start a new life. It is the same thing each generation with increased technology to make it feel as if it is more than a circularity. I don't know, usually @Bitter Crank has an interesting opinion on this, though usually contrary to mine. I do enjoy his commentary despite some fundamental disagreements.

    Also being born will guarantee the crossing of ethical boundaries of others. You will be offending, damaging, punishing, transgressing, other people's ethics, even if unknowingly. Being born guarantees that you will violate some ethical principles. I know @darthbarracuda had more on that idea of intra-wordly affairs (pace Julio Cabrera).

    Also, no one needs to be born to get better. That would be using the person as a third person vessel for X reason. To watch someone struggle so that they get "better" despite the suffering and (inevitable) harm that will befall the new person (and that they will inflict on others) is to use them as a means to an ends.

    I will say there is some aspect of society wrapped up on this. Some people think that humans are here to create a balanced and well-ordered society. We must then ask why this society must be brought about and adhered to in the first place. The point of humans is to play roles in larger social context in some balance of individual vs. society. However, why should we create more individuals to continue the social institutions and society in general in the first place? Why would it be our mission to continue some project that we call society? I fundamentally disagree with @apokrisis but he does try to account for sociological aspects to this question.

    There are goods in life- they usually fall under 6 main experiences: flow-states (being really involved in something), physical pleasure, aesthetic pleasures, relationships (laughter, significant others, family, being around friends), and accomplishment (achieving a desired goal). Accomplishment is especially touted. "Someone new needs to be born to get better at stuff and accomplish things" seems to be the mantra. What is it that someone needs to go through life to accomplish things in the first place? In the end it is still a circularity of surviving, finding comfort, and fleeing boredom. Sometimes in these pursuits, we find some consolation in the goods of life, but is it worth starting a life in order to experience these goods? Also, is accomplishment really a good, or is it merely the obvious reality of being a willing being with complex conceptual-linguistic structures that need to mold our angsty-striving-wills into concrete goals? That is just the inevitable necessary part of being born as a human.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Is it rational to have two threads on the same topic? Hmm, :chin:
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    Is it rational to have two threads on the same topic? Hmm, :chin:Buxtebuddha

    If it makes a difference, most philosophical topics revolve around the same themes eventually, just slightly different arrangement of furniture. The revolving philosophical door just revolved a bit faster in this case :smile: . But it can also indicate a general interest in the topic. I'm not sure. If it is someone new, they might not see all the previous threads on the topic.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.5k
    It would be better to have two threads on the same topic that attracted different posters.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k

    Or even better, if the OP was interested in his own thread. Often I see these newer posters start a thread and then never participate in the actual conversation. I don't get it.
  • Baden
    6.7k
    Please participate in @Thorongil's recent discussion, which, as he said, is nearly identical to this.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/3306/are-there-any-non-selfish-reasons-for-having-children
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