• TheHedoMinimalist
    85
    Well, isn't depriving people of heaven/utopia a bad thing? When I say utopia/heaven I mean a permanent state of happiness. All the problems of existence dealt with decisively.TheMadFool

    How could you deprive someone that never existed? Deprivation requires that there’s someone to be deprived so never bringing a child into existence can never be harmful to anyone. You could say that you are failing to provide a benefit if you don’t reproduce under utopian circumstances. But, am I obligated to provide a benefit to someone? We typically don’t think that someone is blameworthy for refusing to benefit someone. Otherwise, I would be immoral for refusing to donate some money to charity to help the starving children in Africa. On the other hand, somebody that harms somebody else could be called immoral. Reproduction involves potentially harming someone and it could therefore be immoral but avoiding reproduction can never harm anyone so it can never be immoral. It’s also not clear to me if creating a happy life would be morally praiseworthy. That’s because you took a risk of creating an unhappy life in the process. On the other hand, avoiding reproduction can also be potentially praiseworthy because it could be considered preventing harm and we typically think that preventing harm is praiseworthy. Another way you could be praiseworthy is by preventing reproduction by donating money to charities that provide contraception to developing countries. That way we could prevent the creation of lives that are even bad by your standards. The average cost of raising a child in the US is around $250,000. Imagine if I donated that amount of money to charity to provide enough contraception to prevent potentially dozens of terrible lives from coming into existence. Wouldn’t you think that would be more virtuous? Less controversially, I could just donate that money to provide food and shelter to developing countries and that would be more beneficial than having children.
  • TheMadFool
    2.9k
    How could you deprive someone that never existed?TheHedoMinimalist

    May be if we view this as potentiality it'll make sense. A person, before birth, is nonexistent and , therefore, can't be deprived of or gifted with anything.

    However, a person doesn't come into existence from nothing. A plant grows from a seed. The seed has the potential of becoming a beautiful flower. Would you deny the seed of its potential?

    Likewise, in our bodies the female egg and the male sperm together, have a potential for a beautiful life. Are antinatalists not then depriving a potential wonderful life?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    85
    However, a person doesn't come into existence from nothing. A plant grows from a seed. The seed has the potential of becoming a beautiful flower. Would you deny the seed of its potential?

    Likewise, in our bodies the female egg and the male sperm together, have a potential for a beautiful life. Are antinatalists not then depriving a potential wonderful life?
    TheMadFool

    Well, by that logic, we are depriving a near infinite number of potential beings. Every time you are not reproducing, you could be potentially depriving someone who could of lived a happy life. You seem to be suggesting that all of the gazzilion of different sperm and egg combinations could be potential victims. This seems absurd to me. I would also like to point out that it takes both a sperm and an egg to create an identity unless you hold the strange metaphysical view that we had dual identities before the sperm and egg came together. So, it’s not clear to me if I would harming a whole being or half a being by not reproducing. I also would like to ask you a question. Suppose that a person who doesn’t want to have kids and who could raise a child in a utopian circumstances agreed with your argument and decides to remove his testes to prevent the production of future sperm, thereby making it so that there is nobody who could be created or deprived by not being brought into existence. Would the fact that he avoided creating sperm cells make any moral difference under your view?
  • TheMadFool
    2.9k
    Well, by that logic, we are depriving a near infinite number of potential beings. Every time you are not reproducing, you could be potentially depriving someone who could of lived a happy life. You seem to be suggesting that all of the gazzilion of different sperm and egg combinations could be potential victims. This seems absurd to me.TheHedoMinimalist

    Truth can evoke many kinds of emotions.

    You deny that nothing is gained or lost in antinatalist contraception. That's not true. In the context of an improving world children have a brighter future than not. Not producing children would be depriving life from a beautiful existence.

    Imagine you have a gift that you're sure will make anybody happy. Imagine you're a filthy rich man. Wouldn't you produce children or find someone to appreciate and enjoy your gift/wealth?

    Of course, if you were poor the reverse logic would apply. But isn't it then an individual issue. We can't make any general pronouncements like antinatalists do.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    85
    Imagine you have a gift that you're sure will make anybody happy. Imagine you're a filthy rich man. Wouldn't you produce children or find someone to appreciate and enjoy your gift/wealth?TheMadFool

    I’m actually a fairly wealthy person myself and I used to be poor and I could tell you that having more money is not going to make you any happier. I don’t think existence could ever be a gift that will make absolutely everyone happy. Alleviating suffering is not as simple as giving them enough material resources and opportunities to form relationships. I think suffering is inevitable so long as we do not alter our genome or strip away our humanity. We used to suffer from disease and starvation but now we are suffering arguably just as much because our romantic partner broke up with us or we are in poverty while surrounded by rich people in the developed countries. This is among the reasons why the suicide rate in developed countries is higher than it is in many developing countries. Tragedies are so much worse when you seem to be the only one experiencing them.

    I would still love to hear the answer to my question about whether or not preventing the production of sperm cells in your body would prevent anyone from being deprived of being born since the reason you gave me for why you think not having children deprives someone revolved around there being an identity attached to each individual sperm and egg combination. It’s not clear to me how there could be an actual physical identity if the sperm and egg do not combine and if each individual has a dual identity before fertilization, then simply preventing the production of sperm and egg cells would prevent the deprivation.
  • Terrapin Station
    6.7k
    Then, why accuse it of being fallacious since sentiments can’t be fallacious?TheHedoMinimalist

    Because you're forwarding that it can somehow be objective, and you're basing an argument for that on popularity. In other words, I'm criticizing it from the context you're proposing.

    You should consider the probability that your offspring will be glad to be born. This fact could help you determine that probablity. I’m not claiming it’s the only thing you should consider but it’s a good start.TheHedoMinimalist

    I'd agree that the probability that your offspring will be glad it was born will help you determine the probability it will be glad it was born. ;-)

    That is, assuming that (a) probability really works the way people like to imagine it does, and (b) we could have data for something as ridiculously oversimplified (outside of frustrated teenagers expressing frustration) as whether people are "glad they were born."

    If I say that you shouldn’t rob a bank unless you are willing to risk going to prison, this would be a valid should insofar as I am making a pertinent point if you are not willing to risk going to prison.TheHedoMinimalist

    That's still not valid. You could say that if you rob a bank you increase your chances of going to prison, but that tells us nothing about what anyone should do a la validity, which has to do with truth. Shoulds can't be true (or false). That's a category error for them.
  • TheMadFool
    2.9k
    I hope we're talking about the same thing - potentiality.

    The chain of causation relevant to potentiality can be extended into the past and the future.

    You, me and everyone else are part of this potentiality chain or web if you like.

    There was a Siddhartha Gautama once, the Buddha, whose philosophy is founded on pain and suffering. He was right. During his time his words were true.

    In the 21st century his foundational thesis, that life is suffering, is only partially true.

    All of us, 21st century people, were only potential humans during the Buddha's time. Yet, here we are enjoying, even if only relatively, our lives.

    Yes, there's a lot of suffering but this isn't a photograph in which we're stuck in one state/pose forever. It's more like a movie - states change - we can become happier. If I see a photograph of African slaves it saddens me. Yet, if you observe the passage of history, a movie as it were, then you see emancipation.

    The potential for happiness can't be ignored and, as of habit, we don't. Don't we all go to school, sacrifice little pleasures and willingly undergo a little pain, for a greater state of happiness/contentment? The potential for happiness or greater happiness is very relevant.

    It is the above element of truth that is missing from the worldview of antinatalism.

    Lastly and most pertinently, I draw your attention to the familiar idiom ''to nip something in the bud''. Antinatalists are advising just that and that is, if not anything else, an endorsement of potentiality as I've tried to describe it. Only difference is I see a different outcome (happiness) than antinatalists (sorrow).
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    85
    Because you're forwarding that it can somehow be objective, and you're basing an argument for that on popularity. In other words, I'm criticizing it from the context you're proposing.Terrapin Station

    I was forwarding that if we asked about people preferences, their collected answers would constitute an objective fact. You admitted that you agreed that was the case in your previous comment. Whether or not this fact is relevant to the case of reproduction is a different question. You could argue that it’s up to debate as to how relevant this fact is. I never claimed it was the only fact we should consider and think about relating to reproduction but it’s worth considering. When I say it is worth considering, I am not claiming that it’s an objective fact that it’s worth considering but I’m claiming that the objective fact is the collected explicit preferences from different people.

    That is, assuming that (a) probability really works the way people like to imagine it does, and (b) we could have data for something as ridiculously oversimplified (outside of frustrated teenagers expressing frustration) as whether people are "glad they were born."Terrapin Station

    So, what do you think is a more relevant fact to consider here then? It’s sounds to me like you don’t even think anyone could make a sound moral argument of any type and that there are no relevant facts to addressing any moral issues. So, how should we talk about the morality of reproduction then?

    That's still not valid. You could say that if you rob a bank you increase your chances of going to prison, but that tells us nothing about what anyone should do a la validity, which has to do with truth. Shoulds can't be true (or false). That's a category error for them.Terrapin Station

    I think we’re using a different definitions of valid here. My definition of valid here is something worthy of consideration that is relevant to the subject matter at hand. The fact that you might go to prison for robbing a bank is valid because it’s something worthy of consideration that is relevant to the subject matter at hand. Similarly, the fact that most people claim to prefer existence over non-existence is valid because it’s something worthy of consideration that is relevant to the subject matter at hand. On another note, whether or not, shoulds can be true or false is dependent upon which theories of truth you except. If you accept only the correspondence theory of truth then shoulds cannot be true or false(although, something could be neither true nor false but still be valid under my definition of validity. Although, I must point out that the technical definition of validity in logic has to do with the structure of the argument and not the content of it. By the technical definition of validity, you could make a valid false argument because an argument is valid if the premises would lead to the conclusion even if the premises are false or could not be true nor false). But if you accept the coherence or the pragmatic theories of truth then shoulds could be true or false. By the coherence theory, shoulds can be true so long as there are no contradictions in the larger framework of all of your should claims. By the pragmatic theories of truth, shoulds can be true if believing in them is useful for your life.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    85
    The chain of causation relevant to potentiality can be extended into the past and the future.

    You, me and everyone else are part of this potentiality chain or web if you like.
    TheMadFool

    Yes, but if you removed the potentiality by preventing the production of sex cells, wouldn’t that prevent the deprivation? If potentiality implies possible deprivation, then if an antinatalist mad scientist invents a powder that prevents the future production of sperm cells and he puts the powder in the food of unsuspecting men, you would have to conclude that he is doing something good by preventing the harm of deprivation of all the potential happy beings that were extremely unlikely to be born anyway. That’s because most of these potential beings that would of been produced by the future sperm cells had they existed would not be potential beings anymore and that means the mad scientist got rid of the deprivation by removing the potentiality.

    There was a Siddhartha Gautama once, the Buddha, whose philosophy is founded on pain and suffering. He was right. During his time his words were true.

    In the 21st century his foundational thesis, that life is suffering, is only partially true.

    All of us, 21st century people, were only potential humans during the Buddha's time. Yet, here we are enjoying, even if only relatively, our lives.

    Yes, there's a lot of suffering but this isn't a photograph in which we're stuck in one state/pose forever. It's more like a movie - states change - we can become happier. If I see a photograph of African slaves it saddens me. Yet, if you observe the passage of history, a movie as it were, then you see emancipation.

    The potential for happiness can't be ignored and, as of habit, we don't. Don't we all go to school, sacrifice little pleasures and willingly undergo a little pain, for a greater state of happiness/contentment? The potential for happiness or greater happiness is very relevant.

    It is the above element of truth that is missing from the worldview of antinatalism.
    TheMadFool

    Well, if life was suffering in the past and is now better, we would expect to see a reduction of the suicide rate and antinatalism should be becoming less popular. What we are seeing in the 21st century is opposite of that so it’s not clear to me that material well being leads to life satisfaction and happiness. As I have mentioned with the hedonic treadmill, our level of happiness tends to stay constant throughout our lives and we simply adjust to our increased well being and find new things to be miserable about. The upside to the hedonic treadmill is that we can adjust to our suffering also but that takes a longer time and is more difficult.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

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