• khaled
    363
    Not much really needs to be explained aside from the title. Antinatalism is the belief that birth should be morally wrong because it involves bringing into being a creature capable of suffering and that will suffer without its consent and that automatically makes it wrong no matter how much pleasure that creature experiences (because you have no right to create another human when THEY will be the ones to bear the consequences of your choices). Most antinatalists are negative utilitarians who believe that reduction of pain is the only morally correct thing to do and that increasing pleasure is morally meaningless so it'd be great if the refutation is based on negative utilitarian grounds. (so saying "people are generally happy" is not enough for a negative utilitarian)
  • ssu
    774
    The continuation of the species? Or is that too classical?

    I've noticed that this antinatalism idea creates a lot of debate here.

    I think it's just a feelgood response to counter the negative aspects that people have with the issue and gives them a honourable sounding reason for intentionally not reproducing. Like "I'm not selfish, I really think about pain and suffering of others". Because let's face it, however permissive our society has become, not to have children especially when living male-female relationship and especially if it was possible (to have children), is still somewhat of a stigma. The fact is that children do bring happiness. You will have a family around you when you die. And your genes don't die with you. Sure, there's a lot that can go awry, but still the vast majority are happy to have children. And that happiness of others creates this burden to some. Of course it shouldn't, one should allways enjoy the positive aspects of one's life and living single or living without kids has the positive sides to it. But antinatalism as a reason for it? Give me a break.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Not much need to worry about a good refutation of anti-natalism when there isn't even a good support of it in the first place.

    It's like asking if there's a good refutation of the claim that George W. Bush is a reptilian.
  • khaled
    363
    So I'll try to play devil's advocate in the comments just to see if I can get a really good response (these are not my actual opinions)
  • khaled
    363
    what say you about the children that are born with extreme disabilities and illnesses. You have no right to give birth when you know that by doing so you have a chance of causing immeasurable suffering. And you have no right to say "oh most people will enjoy life" because first of all, most is not all and second of all, why would you create a being that can enjoy life but also experiences suffering when instead you could have no being at all. If you have no being at all there is no suffering and no pleasure to be experienced. What makes you think you're qualified to risk someone's life like that. It's like saying kidnapping a child is ok if the child later begins to enjoy his captivity. You have no right to kidnap a child EVEN IF most children learn to enjoy their captivity because you have no right to take a risk with someone else's life (the child might hate the captivity).
  • khaled
    363
    if it's so unsupported it should be pretty easy to refute
  • ssu
    774
    So I'll try to play devil's advocate in the comments just to see if I can get a really good response (these are not my actual opinions)khaled
    With that note, "these are not my actual opinions", I think you made the refutation yourself.
  • khaled
    363
    "these are not my actual opinions" is not a refutation. How would you reply to my last post. I'd like to hear your refutations
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k


    Sure. Give an example of an argument for it. I'll refute it, probably from the first premise.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    You have no right to give birthkhaled

    For example, if your argument begins with something like "You have no right to give birth . . .," that premise is false, whether we're talking about (a) legal rights, because you most certainly do have a legal right to give birth, or (b) "natural rights" aside from legal rights, because there is no such thing. The idea of natural rights is something we've made up.
  • Andrew4Handel
    771
    I don't think you can justify creating someone else. It creates a large imposition on someone else. The person can justifiably feel angry at having been created and has obligations.

    I think the problem is people can just ignore moral claims and act.
  • Andrew4Handel
    771
    legal rightsTerrapin Station

    I don't see what gives legal rights any power. Anyone can make up a legal right.

    In Europe and many other places the state will take someones child off them if they consider them an unfit parent. So every day decisions are made to prevent people having access to children.

    I don't see a good justification for having a child and gambling with someone else's well being
  • khaled
    363

    P1: One has no right to inflict undue suffering on another
    P2: Giving birth is equivalent to inflicting undue suffering on another as it results in the creation of a creature that will definitely suffer as opposed to the absence of such a creature in which case there will be nothing to suffer
    C: Giving birth is immoral
  • khaled
    363
    For example, if your argument begins with something like "You have no right to give birth . . .,"Terrapin Station

    True but the only premise that argument relies on is that inflicting undue pain on others is morally incorrect
  • khaled
    363
    the only rebuttal I managed to come up with for antinatalism is: (copy pasted from Reddit)
    If giving birth is immoral how come eating is moral when:

    1- Both of them are necessary for survival

    2- Both of them have the potential of causing involuntary suffering on another being (it is involuntary in the case of eating because many who work in food production and distribution are there because they can't find another job)
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    True but the only premise that argument relies on is that inflicting undue pain on others is morally incorrectkhaled

    That fails because for one, moral stances aren't the sorts of things that are either correct or incorrect.

    P1: One has no right to inflict undue suffering on anotherkhaled

    That's not the case if we're talking about legal rights, and if we're talking about natural law, morality, etc., those things are noncognitive, so again, not true (or false).

    Hence why again "Not much need to worry about a good refutation of anti-natalism when there isn't even a good support of it in the first place."
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    I don't see what gives legal rights any power. Anyone can make up a legal right.Andrew4Handel

    Legal rights obtain via people who have the power to do so, because of their social position--because of how others treat them in a social context, that is--codifying and subsequently enforcing edicts in some manner. So what gives them any power is the social context. Social behavior where people treat some others as having authority, both to make proclamations and to enforce them.
  • khaled
    363
    according to you then there is no good support for ANY moral theory which I agree with except that that does not address the issue. I'm trying to find a refutation that accepts P1 that's the whole point (that's why I asked that the refutation use negative utilitarian logic) If you say that P1 is false and make it moral to inflict undue harm on people you end up with way worse than antinatalism that's why it's probably a better idea to attack P2
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    969
    If you say that P1 is false and make it moral to inflict undue harm on people you end up with way worse than antinatalism that's why it's probably a better idea to attack P2khaled

    The bad form of suffering is said to be undue suffering (although antinatalists tend to switch between undue suffering and suffering simpliciter). What is undue suffering? Maybe, it's suffering that can't be linked to a bigger picture in order to be justified. It is meaningless suffering. I see how bits and chunks of life can feel meaningless, thus unjustified to us. I don't see how life itself can be meaningless, thus unjustified in its wholeness. Meaninglessness presupposes meaning. Something is meaningless when it doesn't fit the overall picture, which itself is meaningful (otherwise it wouldn't be a picture to begin with). You have to have some sort of structure in order for something to be off. If you have no structure, no meaning, you have nothing and nothing can be off. So, local or individual moral propositions can be meaningful only under the assumption that the whole system that they're embedded to (i.e. life) is meaningful. So life cannot be synonymous with undue suffering and giving birth is not necessarily immoral. So, P2 can't be accepted because then P1 does not make sense. What now?
  • Nicolás Navia
    9
    Utilitarism doesn't make sense for a lot of good reasons, the most simple one is that you can't know the consecuences of an action before making it, is just an attempt to make a "scientific" moral system. But even with that said, i understand this problem goes beyond that, i believe in the idea "Treat everyone as ends on themselves" and clearly having children wouldn't necessarily make sense with that stance. But we don't have to forget something, all this moral rules have their limits, who is everyone? is an animal an end on himself? is bad to eat it? is a plant an end on himself? is bad to eat it? what if i want to survive a storm so i look for wood to make a refuge? would i be treating the plant badly? so talking about "everyone" obviously doesn't mean that, and is not just arbitrary, you can't treat people with rules they don't follow, that's why it isn't inmoral to arrest a rapist, cause we can't treat him like an end on himself if he can't function that way, obviously, knowing how to act exactly with this people is entirely a new and big problem, but i say this for a reason, nobody treats children like ends on themselves because they can't do that with the rest, they aren't free men because they don't respect freedom, we know that. A rapist like i said before goes to prison because he was free, but violated freedom, a kid is responsability of his parents, he won't go to prison because he is a free men in process, his parents got to answer for him, so that idea wouldn't apply.
  • khaled
    363
    unjustified simply means "wouldn't have been experienced by that creature if you didn't cause it". So me punching you is unjustified suffering for example. And so is giving birth because that causes a tremendous amount of suffering that could have gone unexperienced. Now does P1 make sense?
  • khaled
    363
    the most simple one is that you can't know the consecuences of an action before making itNicolás Navia

    But you CAN know an action is bad if it causes ANY suffering where there could have been none and that's exactly what birth does. Now as for the rest of your comment
    i believe in the idea "Treat everyone as ends on themselves" and clearly having children wouldn't necessarily make sense with that stanceNicolás Navia

    Starting here you seem to be having a debate with yourself because I never said that. It's logical and well thought out though
  • Πετροκότσυφας
    969


    And me punching you in the face is justified, because you tried to kill me without a reason (that is to say, unjustifiably) and I had to self-defense. But, under your definition, me punching you wasn't justified because I caused it, while I could have not (!). So, it seems to me that you're just conflating between meanings and opting for one that is of no use, cause, under your definition, everything that we do is unjustified and meaningless (since we could have not done it!). We now have come full circle. So, no, P1 still does not make sense cause you're still trying to say something meaningful, while, at the same time, trying to deny all meaning.
  • Nicolás Navia
    9
    i understand that you can see that pain exist in human life as more than a constant, and that you are creating suffering just by creating life, but my problem is that the idea of causing any suffering where there could have been none, is weird because, it's just the existence that causes pain in itself according to that, so, if i kill a person without family and firends, without him noticing it, i'm doing something good? and i'm not saying that guy's unhappy, but if he dies he can't suffer in the future (because he is going to eventually), and that would mean less suffering in the world. Because eventually, the antinatalist idea solves the problem of suffering in the world, making that nobody is able to suffer because we're all dead, is like if the earth just dissapear without anybody noticing it would be good, again, because nobody would be able to suffer. you can say the difference is the consent, but the problem is obvious, we cannot know if they will consent because they don't exist, that's overthinking the future, probably killing myself would be moral because i can cause pain in the future, and again, any action can or cannot cause pain in the future where should have been none.
  • Andrew4Handel
    771
    Legal rights obtain via people who have the power to do so, because of their social position--because of how others treat them in a social context, that is--codifying and subsequently enforcing edicts in some manner. So what gives them any power is the social context. Social behavior where people treat some others as having authority, both to make proclamations and to enforce them.Terrapin Station

    Suicide used to be illegal but that didn't stop people committing suicide.

    I don't know why you think the legal right to have a child would justify having a child? There is nothing metaphysically impressive or infallible about the law. Slavery used to be legal.

    I think one of the problems with having children is that you can do it without any skill or qualification or planning or justification.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    according to you then there is no good support for ANY moral theory which I agree with except that that does not address the issue.khaled

    Not that I'm for the moment agreeing or disagreeing with your "according to you," but If it refutes an argument for anti-natalism, then it does address the issue. That's the thread topic. An argument is refuted if its premises aren't true.

    I'm trying to find a refutation that accepts P1 that's the whole point (that's why I asked that the refutation use negative utilitarian logic) If you say that P1 is false and make it moral to inflict undue harm on people you end up with way worse than antinatalism that's why it's probably a better idea to attack P2

    If P1 is saying that one does not have a legal right to give birth, for example, then that's false, simply because one does indeed have a legal right to give birth. It's not against the law to give birth.

    If P1 is instead about "natural rights," then it's neither true nor false. Likewise, any moral stance is neither true nor false.

    Does this imply that "there is no good support for any moral theory." Not necessarily. It does imply that no (non-contextual) moral claim or argument is true or false, but I would say that there are good supports for some moral stances relative to certain moral premises that one agrees with, and I'd say that moral premises can be better or worse formulated based on factors such as vagueness versus clarity and whether they well-capture how the person in questions actual moral dispositions.

    P1, as a moral premise, is not well-formulated in my view, because both "undue" and "suffering" are vague.

    By the way, your conclusion also doesn't follow at all, because "Don't have a right to x" doesn't imply "Is immoral to x."

    For example, most people do not feel that it's a natural right to participate in instant run-off voting, but that doesn't imply that it's immoral to participate in instant run-off voting.

    So even if we were to imagine that P1 and P2 are the sorts of sentences that can be true or false, and we were to imagine that they're true, then the argument isn't valid, because it's possible for the conclusion to be false while the premises are true.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Suicide used to be illegal but that didn't stop people committing suicide.Andrew4Handel

    Sure, that you don't have a legal right to do something doesn't imply that it's impossible to do that thing. It simply implies that you can be arrested, prosecuted, etc. for doing that thing, at least as long as you explicitly do not have a legal right to do it, so that it's explicitly illegal. Obviously this is irrelevant if you attempt suicide and succeed, but it's not irrelevant if you do not succeed (with the whole aim there of not having a legal right to do it is that people can then be required to receive help for their suicidal tendencies).

    I don't know why you think the legal right to have a child would justify having a child?

    And I don't know why you'd think that I'm saying anything like that. I didn't say anything at all about justifications for anything. The reason I brought up legal rights in the first place is because I think that those are the only sorts of rights that anyone has. I don't believe that natural rights exist in any sense aside from it amounting to people saying that they feel so strongly that one should be allowed to do some x that they feel it should be inviolable.

    There is nothing metaphysically impressive or infallible about the law.

    Sure. And no one said anything at all like that. I simply mentioned legal rights, since I believe those are the sorts of rights that exist (as something we've created socially), and you asked a question that suggested that you didn't understand how legal rights were possible, so I answered that.

    And yeah, people used to have a legal right to own slaves.
  • Andrew4Handel
    771


    I don't think people should have a right to have children or believe they have that right. I think there has to be a good reason for proposing a right.

    For example the right not to be enslaved is a response to the harm of slavery.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    I don't think people should have a right to have children or believe they have that right. I think there has to be a good reason for proposing a right.

    For example the right not to be enslaved is a response to the harm of slavery.
    Andrew4Handel

    Is that basically your default--everything should be illegal unless there's a good reason to make it legal?
  • Andrew4Handel
    771
    Is that basically your default--everything should be illegal unless there's a good reason to make it legal?Terrapin Station

    I am not talking about legality but rather conferring rights.

    People do not have the right to sexually abuse children. if someone wanted to make that legal they would have to give a really compelling reason for it.

    There are actually thousands upon thousands of laws. These days most things have a legal component. There is not much that you are automatically entitled to do. People have to pay for essential needs like water and shelter.

    That is why it is absurd that anyone can have children without showing any capacity to rear a child and without having any resources. If the parent fails to care for the child then society is given the responsibility of paying for it and rearing it.

    I think the idea that having children is a natural right is what lies behind the reluctance to discourage people from having children or to make it harder to do so.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    I am not talking about legality but rather conferring rights.Andrew4Handel

    How do you confer rights non-legally?
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