• khaled
    363
    not individually but being in a society (product of birth) greatly increases your survival chances as opposed to being out in the wild. It’s like how everyone needs food to survive but not everyone necessarily needs to produce food. We need a next generation to survive but not everyone needs to have kids
  • khaled
    363
    no but that would also be a good point
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Yekhaled

    That quote should be memorialized.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    not individually but being in a society (product of birth) greatly increases your survival chances as opposed to being out in the wild. It’s like how everyone needs food to survive but not everyone necessarily needs to produce food. We need a next generation to survive but not everyone needs to have kidskhaled

    In this case it is just a means of how you weigh the utility. More births means more deaths and suffering anyways, so it is short-sighted.
  • Fortress of Solitude
    5

    I can think of two:
    1. You have to pay this price of suffering for existence, which should cancel out this negative morality, utility wise.
    2. Birth is neutral because it contains both suffering and the ability of rising above it and gain happiness (which is your benefit). Looking only at the negative gives you a skewed perception of morality.

    Since money has time value, you could make a comparison: you give a loan of 100 bucks to someone, with the understanding that they will give you 110 bucks a week from now. Is it true to say you are short of 100 bucks? Sure, if you look at your purse only. However, you also have a promise form the other fellow, that he will pay it back with interest. It's basically a contract with some risk.

    You also don't have the right to choose before conception so how would you know if you want to make this deal of a "lifetime"? You could say your parents know, but you can counter argue with good will, or the inherent value of life I mentioned. Or if you believe we have no free will at all, then you could say it was an unavoidable that you would be born, and you can't assign morality to nature (your parents may even have tried everything to not have you, but you were still born somehow - this is especially true with pro life laws).
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47


    "2. Birth is neutral because it contains both suffering and the ability of rising above it and gain happiness (which is your benefit). Looking only at the negative gives you a skewed perception of morality."

    If there are both good and bad aspects of existence, that does not necessarily mean that existence is neutral overall. In fact, the only way that existence is completely neutral is if there is exactly as much good in life as there is bad in life. An antinatalist would argue that since it is reasonable to suppose that life overall contains more bad than good, then performing an act of commission without the permission of the person most affected by the act would be wrong because the person created could reasonably resent the fact that he was created. Many philosophers would object to this logic by stating that procreators have no way of asking their future offspring for permission. An Antinatalist could respond to this objection by arguing that, in similar cases, it would also be wrong to perform an act of commission that could reasonably be viewed as a net harm without permission even when permission could not be acquired. For example, imagine that a surgeon has to choose whether or not to operate on an unconscious patient. If he operates on the patient, the patient will experience a tremendous amount of suffering, but if he refuses to operate the patient will die. Some antinatalists would argue that it's better to let the patient die because you have no obligation to save that patients life but you do have an obligation not to cause the patient extreme suffering. Although, if the surgery in question only involves minor suffering, then the fact that the patient cannot grant consent may be overridden by a reasonable assumption that the patient wants his life saved and is willing to endure the minor suffering. An antinatalist would typically think it is reasonable to wish to not be born though and therefore we shouldn't procreate since we don't have a duty to create anyone but we have a duty not to inflict harm onto them.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k
    Would negative utilitarianism even make sense as a stance to hold under your ontology?Terrapin Station

    No.

    Michael Ossipoff

    2018-W48-7

    11 Frimaire (Frost-Month) CCXXVII
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k


    Okay, but that's what khaled keeps asking for. A refutation under the auspices of negative utilitarianism.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k


    Fair enough. Telling why Negative-Utilitarianism doesn't apply isn't what the OP asked for, and so I didn't answer his question.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k
    I have no idea what you're talking about and that tiny excerpt was not convincing for me at allkhaled

    I've found a copy of a more complete posting about Ontic Structural Subjective Idealism.

    So, if you still don't agree with me, at least it won't be because I didn't post my proposal.

    Description of my metaphysical proposal:
    -------------------------------------------
    December 2, 2018 edit:
    .
    I hope this clarifies what I mean when I mention Ontic Structural Subjective Idealism. I don’t guarantee that you’ll agree with what I say—evidently nearly no-one here does.
    .
    The disagreement seems to always take the form of someone insisting that this physical world, instead of just being real and existent in its own context, has to have some sort of absolute objective fundamental independent existence and reality—but without being able to say what that would mean, much less how he knows it to be true.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    9/29/18 posting:
    .
    First two premises that we all agree on:
    .
    1. We find ourselves in the experience of a life in which we’re physical animals in a physical universe.
    .
    2. Uncontroversially, there are abstract implications, in the sense that we can speak of and refer to them.
    .
    I claim no other “reality” or “existence” for them.
    .
    By “implication”, I mean the implying of one proposition by another. By “abstract implication”, I mean the implication of one hypothetical proposition by another hypothetical proposition.
    .
    So there are also infinitely-many complex systems of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things.
    .
    Among that infinity of complex hypothetical logical systems, there’s one that, with suitable naming of its things and propositions, fits the description of your experience in this life.
    .
    I call that your “hypothetical life-experience-story”. As a hypothetical logical system, it timelessly is/was there, in the limited sense that I said that there are abstract implications.
    .
    There’s no reason to believe that your life and experience are other than that hypothetical logical system that I call your hypothetical life-experience-story.
    .
    Just as I claim no “existence” or “reality” for abstract implications, so I claim no “existence” or “reality” for the complex systems of them, or anything else in the realm of logically-interdependent things.
    .
    Each of the infinitely-many complex systems of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things is quite entirely separate, independent and isolated from anything else in the describable realm, including the other such logical systems.
    .
    Each neither has nor needs any reality or existence in any context other than its own local inter-referring context.
    ----------------------------
    Any “fact” in this physical world implies and corresponds to an implication:
    .
    “There’s a traffic-roundabout at the intersection of 34th & Vine.”
    .
    “If you go to 34th & Vine, you’ll encounter, there, a traffic-roundabout.”
    ---------------------------
    Every “fact” in this physical world can be regarded as a proposition that is at least part of the antecedent of some implications, and is the consequent of other implications.
    .
    For example:
    .
    A set of hypothetical physical quantity-values, and a hypothetical relation among them (called a “physical hypothesis, theory or law) together comprise the antecedent of a hypothetical implication.
    .
    …except that one of those hypothetical physical quantity-values can be taken as the consequent of that implication.
    .
    A true mathematical theorem is an implication whose antecedent includes at least a set of mathematical axioms.
    ---------------------------
    Instead of one world of “Is”…
    .
    …infinitely-many worlds of “If”.
    .
    We’re used to declarative, indicative, grammar because it’s convenient. But conditional grammar adequately describes our physical world. We tend to unduly believe our grammar.
    --------------------------
    You, as the protagonist of your hypothetical life-experience-story, are complementary with your experiences and surroundings in that story. You and they comprise the two complementary parts of that hypothetical story.
    .
    By definition that story is about your experience. It’s for you, and you’re central to it. It wouldn’t be an experience-story without you. So I suggest that Consciousness is primary in the describable realm, or at least in its own part(s) of it.
    .
    That’s why I say that you’re the reason why you’re in a life. It has nothing to do with your parents, who were only part of the overall physical mechanism in the context of this physical world. Of course consistency in your story requires that there be evidence of a physical mechanism for the origin of the physical animal that you are.
    .
    Among the infinity of hypothetical life-experience-stories, there timelessly is one with you as protagonist. That protagonist, with his inclinations and predispositions, his “Will to Life”, is why you’re in a life.
    .
    The requirement for an experience-story is that it be consistent. …because there are no such things as inconsistent facts, even abstract ones.
    .
    Obviously a person’s experience isn’t just about logic and mathematics. But your story’s requirement for consistency requires that the physical events and things in the physical world that you experience are consistent. That inevitably brings logic into your story.
    .
    And of course, if you closely examine the physical world and its workings, then the mathematical relations in the physical world will be part of your experience. …as they also are when you read about what physicists have found by such close examinations of sthe physical world and its workings.
    .
    There have been times when new physical observations seemed inconsistent with existing physical laws. Again and again, newly discovered physical laws showed a consistent system of which the previously seemingly-inconsistent observations are part. But of course there remain physical observations that still aren’t explained by currently-known physical law. Previous experience suggests that those observations, too, at least potentially, will be encompassed by new physics.
    .
    Likely, physical explanations consisting of physical things and laws that, themselves, will later be explained by newly-discovered physical things and laws, will be an endless open-ended process…at least until such time as, maybe, further examination will be thwarted by inaccessibly small regions, large regions, or high energies. …even though that open-ended explanation is there in principle.
    .
    A few questions:
    .
    1. If you think that this physical world is other than, or more than, what I’ve described it as—If you believe that this physical universe is “objectively existent” or “objectively real” or “actual” or “substantial” or “substantive” in a way that the physical world as I’ve described it…
    .
    …as the setting of your hypothetical life-experience story, which is a complex system of inter-referring abstract implications about hypothetical propositions about hypothetical things…
    .
    …then what do you mean by “”objectively existent”, “objectively real”, “actual”, “substantial”, or “substantive”?
    .
    2. In what context, other than its own, or the context of our lives, do you want or believe this physical universe to be real &/or existent? What would it mean to say that this physical world has absolute objective fundamental independent existence?...or some specified kind of existence that the hypothetical experience-stories that I describe don't have?
    .
    These discussions always end with the other person not answering these questions.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff


    .
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Just as I claim no “existence” or “reality” for abstract implications,Michael Ossipoff

    It seems to me that saying "There are hypothetical abstract implications" is claiming existence of them. So either I don't understand what you mean by "there are" or I don't understand what you mean by "claim existence" or both .
  • khaled
    363
    to address these as an antinatalist would:
    1- I don’t get what you’re saying sorry
    2- But you don’t have the right to take that risk with someone else’s life. Would it be okay to kidnap someone because you think they’ll come to enjoy the kidnapping later? Of course not, even if there was a chance they would. It is immoral to take an action that risks harming someone else when you could otherwise not take that action and not be harmed yourself
  • khaled
    363

    1- By objectively real I mean unalterable by my thoughts about it
    2- It would mean that they are unalterable by me

    What you just proposed is essentailly just the objective world. You have a story that you can’t alter. That’s all I need to say something is objective. Your model runs into the massive issue of “who made this story and what makes it consistent” because I’d say THATS the cause of my story not me. It’s like how every hypothetical world you imagine is imagined by you (obviously) so who is imagining this world I’m living in right now and how in the heck is he so damned focused.

    So yea that’s my opinion of your proposition but’s I don’t really want to discuss this in this thread as it is unrelated. Also I don’t understand how your position is supposed to mean that I’m the cause of my own existence. If I was I would at least remember setting the rules for this dang reality. Also if I was truly the author of this life story, let’s just say there would be a few changes.

    Also why do you end all your posts with your name?

    Khaled
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    Would it be okay to kidnap someone because you think they’ll come to enjoy the kidnapping later?khaled

    The analogy would have to be that they don't mind the kidnapping when it happens either (at least the vast majority of babies, toddlers aren't complaining about being born), and I'd say that yes, it's definitely okay to kidnap people if the vast majority of people neither mind being kidnapped when it happens nor mind it later--in fact, the vast majority of people enjoy it a lot, even if not 100% of the time. That there are a minority of people who have a problem with it later, so that they wish they simply weren't kidnapped at all, wouldn't suggest that no one should be kidnapped in my opinion.
  • khaled
    363
    it’s not moral to take that risk with someone else though if you don’t have to. Kidnapping even as you describe it would still be wrong because there is no benefit to the kidnapping. So it’s either

    Kidnap: high chance of pleasure(good), low chance of pain (bad)
    Don’t kidnap: no chance of pain(good), no chance of pleasure(not bad)

    So it’s clearly the case that the more moral option is not to kidnap, especially as the kid wouldn’t complain about not being kidnapped (if he knew you were coming it wouldn’t be a kidnapping). Maybe that last sentence is taking the analogy a bit too far but what I’m trying to say is that not giving birth doesn’t mean anyone loses out on anything because there is no one to lose out on something. The asymmetry above is one of the most famous arguments for antinatalism. The more moral option is clearly not to give birth and recklessly take chances with another person’s life.
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    it’s not moral to take that risk with someone else though if you don’t have to.khaled

    I don't agree with that, though. And there are benefits, because under the scenario I wrote "In fact, the vast majority of people enjoy it a lot." That's a benefit.

    The scenario is this: Kidnap: high chance of pleasure(good), low chance of pain (bad)
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k
    It seems to me that saying "There are hypothetical abstract implications" is claiming existence of them. So either I don't understand what you mean by "there are" or I don't understand what you mean by "claim existence" or both .Terrapin Station

    Then they exist.

    But I've been emphasizing that I'm only saying they "exist" as something that can be mentioned and referred to.

    Other than that, I don't claim any existence for them.

    But the limited kind of "existence" that I say that they have is quite uncontroversial.

    Michael Ossipoff
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k

    1- By objectively real I mean unalterable by my thoughts about it
    2- It would mean that they are unalterable by me
    .
    A life-experience-story, as I said, has the requirement of consistency, because there are no inconsistent facts.
    .
    That doesn’t allow for your thoughts governing what happens in the physical world, which must operate by its own rules.
    .
    What you just proposed is essentially just the objective world.
    .
    Yes, I’ve proposed an explanation for the objectively-observed physical world. …but one consisting of logical relation among abstract-implications about propositions about hypothetical things.
    .
    You have a story that you can’t alter.
    .
    Well, as a physical animal, a biologically-originated purposefully-responsive-device (Your experience-story is a story about the experience of being one of those.), you can act on your surroundings, as they can act on you.
    .
    But no, you can’t just will things to be the way you’d like them to be.
    .
    That’s all I need to say something is objective. Your model runs into the massive issue of “who made this story[?]…
    .
    It timelessly is/was. Abstract logical implications—and therefore complex inter-referring systems of them--don’t need to be made.
    .
    …and what makes it consistent”
    .
    Consistency results from there not being any such thing as mutually-inconsistent facts, or true-and-false propositions.
    .
    because I’d say THATS the cause of my story not me.
    .
    Okay, but your life-experience-story is an experience-story only because it has a protagonist, an experiencer—namely you. That story is about your experience. In that sense you called the “reason” for it. But I agree that ultimately you didn’t choose to be. It was just an inevitable fact that there timelessly was/is that story about your experience—among the infinity of abstract-implications and complex systems of them.
    .
    It’s like how every hypothetical world you imagine is imagined by you (obviously) so who is imagining this world I’m living in right now
    .
    It doesn’t need anyone to imagine it. The logical relations among those inter-referring abstract implications just inevitably are. Who’s experiencing it? You, of course, as the protagonist of your life-experience-story.
    .
    How real is all that? Who says it has to be “real”, whatever that would mean? The notion of, the belief in, “real” and “exist” have caused much philosophical confusion for millennia.
    .
    and how in the heck is he so damned focused.
    .
    Sure, that’s a good objection, and I claim that it’s answerable.
    .
    It comes down to that consistency-requirement that I mentioned above. There’s no such thing as mutually-contradictory facts or true-and-false propositions. That means that your experiences will be consistent with eachother. When there’s an apparent contradiction, a consistent explanation will often be found. And when one hasn’t been found, there’s always the possibility that it might be subsequently consistently resolved.
    .
    The bottom-line is that there’s never provable inconsistency. That’s all that the consistency-requirement requires. Arguably, probably, it’s impossible to prove that a physical world is inconsistent, because there could be a consistent explanation, such as:
    .
    1. Finding out something that you didn’t know that gives a consistent explanation. That could be a commonplace sort of new observation, or it could be new physics that explains a previously inconsistent-seeming observation (something that has often happened in physics).
    .
    2. Mistaken memory.
    .
    3. Hallucination.
    .
    4. Dreaming
    .
    I don’t understand how your position is supposed to mean that I’m the cause of my own existence.
    .
    Only in the sense that you’re an integral, inextricable, part of your life-experience-story. The experience-story only “is” one only because it has a protagonist. It didn’t come into being before you did. The story was/is timelessly there, with you as part of it, as its experiencer/protagonist.
    .
    If I was I would at least remember setting the rules for this dang reality.
    .
    Your subconscious inclinations, perceived needs, inclinations, predispositions are part of your life-experience-story—at the root of it. They’re the fundamental “You”.
    .
    No doubt you’d like everything to be favorable to you, but the consistency-requirement doesn’t work that way.
    .
    Physical worlds can’t be made-to-order. They must operate by their own logical rules, rules that are part of your necessarily-logically-consistent life-experience-story.
    .
    Also if I was truly the author of this life story, let’s just say there would be a few changes.
    .
    See above.
    .
    Also why do you end all your posts with your name?
    .
    For the same reason why you signed the post that I’m replying to?
    .
    It’s customary to sign what we write.
    .
    2018-W49-1
    .
    12 Frimaire (Frost-Month) CCXXVII
    .
    Michael Ossipoff
  • khaled
    363


    Kidnap: High chance of pleasure (good), Low chance of suffering (Bad)
    Don’t kidnap: No chance of pleasure (not bad), No chance of suffering (Good)

    So which one seems like the more moral option to you? You have no moral obligation to create positive utility for others but you DO have an obligation to not cause them harm if it can be avoided and this birth doesn’t do (or kidnapping in this analogy)
  • khaled
    363

    Your metaphysical proposition just sounds like a deterministic external reality to me. It is external in the sense that my thoughts can’t change it and it is deterministic in the sense that these abstract ideas had to interact in a logical and deterministic way according to their own rules. Now then it just sounds like you’re arguing for the moral neutrality of birth by abolishing free will essentially, or at least that’s the “type” of objection you have. Your objection is an objection based on a deterministic state of the world, which is a fine objection, except it works for literally anything. I could murder someone and plead innocent because my life experience story just had to turn out that way deterministically because it’s consistent. Your critique can be generalized to all of morality. You’re giving me a hammer when I asked for a toothpick if that makes any sense

    Also I’m just kidding with you when I sign my name at the end. If you notice I only do that with you

    Khaled
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    So which one seems like the more moral option to you?khaled

    Very easily this is the more moral option in my view:

    Kidnap: High chance of pleasure (good), Low chance of suffering (Bad)

    You have no moral obligation to create positive utility for others but you DO have an obligation to not cause them harm if it can be avoided and this birth doesn’t do (or kidnapping in this analogy)khaled

    You're asking my opinion, right? I don't at all agree with the obligations as you see them.
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.5k


    Your metaphysical proposition just sounds like a deterministic external reality to me. It is external in the sense that my thoughts can’t change it and it is deterministic in the sense that these abstract ideas had to interact in a logical and deterministic way according to their own rules.
    .
    Sure, that sounds right. But I emphasize that you, as the protagonist/experiencer, are one of the two complementary components of your experience-story, rather than only a passive result of it.
    .
    .
    Now then it just sounds like you’re arguing for the moral neutrality of birth by abolishing free will essentially, or at least that’s the “type” of objection you have. Your objection is an objection based on a deterministic state of the world, which is a fine objection, except it works for literally anything. I could murder someone and plead innocent because my life experience story just had to turn out that way deterministically because it’s consistent. Your critique can be generalized to all of morality. You’re giving me a hammer when I asked for a toothpick if that makes any sense.
    .
    I don’t believe in “free will”. Your choices are chosen for you by your built-in and acquired predispositions and preferences, and your surrounding circumstances. Your only role is a fairly good estimate, your best guess, of which choice best achieves your preferences and purposed, given the surrounding circumstances.
    .
    But no, that doesn’t mean that a criminal is innocent. What he did was partly because of what he is, both intrinsically and from his experiences. That was him, even though he didn’t choose to be as he is.
    .
    Also I’m just kidding with you when I sign my name at the end.
    .
    That’s nice. Do so if you like to. Forgive me if I don’t acknowledge it as important.
    .
    If you notice I only do that with you
    .
    To tell the truth, no I didn’t notice, because it isn’t something that would occur to me as relevant, something that I’d look for, or something that would get my attention. See above.
    .
    Michael Ossipoff

    2018-W49-2
  • khaled
    363
    it's good, bad vs good, neutral. Clearly the more moral option is good, neutral especially considering the fact that it's someone else you're talking about here.

    You have no right to take a course of action that has a risk to harm others if you gain nothing by it.

    Do you agree with this as a premise? (The alternative is you DO have a right to harm people unnecessarily which I highly doubt anyone would support here)

    Because if you do then antinatalism is the only remaining option
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47
    Kidnap: high chance of pleasure(good), low chance of pain (bad)
    Don’t kidnap: no chance of pain(good), no chance of pleasure(not bad)

    So it’s clearly the case that the more moral option is not to kidnap, especially as the kid wouldn’t complain about not being kidnapped
    khaled

    You're pointing to David Benetar's axiological asymmetry argument here from his book "Better to Have Never Been". In which he states:
    1. The presence of bad things is bad
    2. The presence of good things is good
    3. The absence of bad things is good, even if there's no one to enjoy the absence
    4. The absence of good things is not bad unless there's someone whom this absence is a deprivation.

    There are a few things that need to be clarified about his argument:
    1. By "bad things" and "good things" he's referring to things that could be considered intrinsically good or bad. If you are a hedonist the good=pleasure and the bad=pain. If you prefer the preference satisfaction account(no pun intended lol) then good=satisfied preferences and bad=frustrated preferences. If you think there's something else that's good or bad intrinsically then you just add it to the list.
    2. When he says that the absence of bad things is good, he means that it is relatively good rather than intrinsically good. So basically, the absence of bad things is better than the presence of bad things even if there's no one who enjoys the absence. Similarly, when he says that the absence of good things is not bad, he means that it is "not worse" than the presence of good things if there is no one to be deprived of those good things. This is where I would disagree with Benetar.

    The reason why I disagree with his claim that the absence of good things in nonexistence is not worse than the presence of good things in existence is because it contradicts our intuition that pleasure has intrinsic value rather than just relative value. I use pleasure as an exemplar here because it is something that we have the greatest reason to think is intrinsically valuable. I'm aware that many negative utilitarians might argue that pleasure is only neutral intrinsically and it's only relatively good(compared to experiencing pain or neutral emotion). But, I would like to bring up a thought experiment I considered:

    Imagine that a mad scientist managed to create an artificial sentient being that only has the capacity to experience mild pleasure. It cannot experience pain or negative emotion of any kind. It also has no intelligence, personality, perception, or memory. It's just a brain in a vat that only experiences a constant stream of vague and meaningless pleasure which it has no capacity to desire. While Benetar thinks we should be indifferent about bringing such a being into existence, I happen to think that it would be good to bring as many of these artificial beings into existence as possible(Assuming there's no chance they could evolve into a different being that might experience pain). Having said that, I don't think the mad scientist has an obligation to create more of these beings. Which brings me to the next part of Benetar's argument.
    Benetar claims that his asymmetry argument offers the best explanation to the following additional asymmetry:
    1. You have an obligation not to create an unhappy person.
    2. You don't have an obligation to create a happy person.

    Benetar's asymmetry would supposedly explain this asymmetry because if the presence of bad is bad and the absence of good is not bad in nonexistence then creating an unhappy person would be bad and neglecting to create a happy person would be not bad. But, I think there are 2 additional explanations that could be given for this asymmetry:
    1. It's unreasonable to give people a duty to perform a specific positive obligation, in most cases. That is because there are nearly an infinite amount of benefits that a person could provide instead of reproducing a happy person. If someone refuses to reproduce, he might be called selfish unless he decides to donate his money to charity or adopt a child or help grannies cross the stress and so on. Because, the notion of duty is typically a simple rule based one(it would be too hard to add up all your good actions and subtract out all the bad actions.), it would hard to have, as a rule, an obligation to provide a specific benefit rather than some benefit in general. On the other hand, we could often easily make a moral rule that forbids a certain act.
    2. Requiring someone to reproduce would require too much of a sacrifice. While, Benetar does mention this explanation in his book. His response is that it is counterintuitive to him to imagine that we would have an obligation to create a happy person if there wasn't any sacrifice that was required for that. But, it's hard to imagine how there could be no sacrifice since simply feeling icky about reproduction could be viewed as a sacrifice.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    I use pleasure as an exemplar here because it is something that we have the greatest reason to think is intrinsically valuable. I'm aware that many negative utilitarians might argue that pleasure is only neutral intrinsically and it's only relatively good(compared to experiencing pain or neutral emotion).TheHedoMinimalist

    The weight is on the negative. What is good is that painful experiences did not occur for an individual. Pleasurable experiences not occurring does not hurt anyone, nor would anyone know they are missing out. There is an epistemological element to the pleasurable experiences but not for the painful ones. In other words, it is absolutely good that painful experiences were avoided. This is a strong metaphysical stance- a universe with the least pain is better off. A universe with no pleasurable experiences, is not bad, especially if the people that would have had pleasurable experiences do not know they are deprived of anything. Further, a universe with the least pain is certainly better in a universe where the people who were to experience pleasure otherwise if they were born, did not know they were deprived of any good
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    You have no right to take a course of action that has a risk to harm others if you gain nothing by it.khaled

    I don't parse any moral talk in terms of rights, but aside from that, sure if a course of action is something that no one could gain anything from (pretending there could be such a thing), and the course of action only has a risk of harm to others, then sure, I'd say that course of action isn't moral.

    But that wasn't the idea above. The one option was, "Kidnap: High chance of pleasure (good), Low chance of suffering (Bad)." Because of that "high chance of pleasure" in conjunction with "low chance of suffering," that's the option I'd go with as the moral option.

    Re this, "you DO have a right to harm people unnecessarily" What counts as necessarily/unnecessarily is an issue (that I'll refrain from sidetracking us into), but ignoring that, and given just how widely people use the term "harm," I do feel that it's moral in some cases to harm people unnecessarily.

    An example: some people are "harmed" by offensive speech. I think it's not only morally acceptable to utter offensive speech, I think there are good reasons to do so, I think that the people who are offended by it are the ones who have a problem, and re rights, I think it should be a legal right to do so--I'm a free speech absolutist (where I also don't see free speech as only a legal issue).
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47
    he weight is on the negative. What is good is that painful experiences did not occur for an individual. Pleasurable experiences not occurring does not hurt anyone, nor would anyone know they are missing out. There is an epistemological element to the pleasurable experiences but not for the painful ones. In other words, it is absolutely good that painful experiences were avoided. This is a strong metaphysical stance- a universe with the least pain is better off. A universe with no pleasurable experiences, is not bad, especially if the people that would have had pleasurable experiences do not know they are deprived of anything. Further, a universe with the least pain is certainly better in a universe where the people who were to experience pleasure otherwise if they were born, did not know they were deprived of any goodschopenhauer1

    I want to point out first that your position seems different to that of David Benetar. Benetar has stated explicitly that his main axiological asymmetry is "axiological" rather than metaphysical(read his book or listen to his discussion with Sam Harris for more details). He also states in his book that the absence of pain is not literarily or absolutely good in his asymmetry. We are not deriving utility in our universe from all the beings that were never born, that is to say. Also, I don't understand how you stances could be a strong "metaphysical" stance since metaphysics refers to the study of what there is out there. Any metaphysical claim should begin with something like "There is".

    Examples of metaphysical propositions:

    1. X is the same person as Y.

    2. "There is"(or isn't) an afterlife

    3. "There is"(or isn't) free will

    Your position is more of an axiological one since it deals with the question of what is good or bad, better or worse, valuable or disvaluable. If you believe that the absence of pain is absolutely good, then you would have to conclude that the absence of pain has intrinsic value. But, how can the absence of pain have intrinsic value if there isn't an extent to which it is valuable. In other words, in order for something to be "intrinsically"(note that the word intrinsic had root "in" as in "inside of something") valuable, it has to be valuable for someone. Since, the absence of pain is valuable for no one, in the case of nonexistence, then it cannot be "intrinsically" or "absolutely" valuable. It could only be "relatively" valuable, that is to say that the absence of pain in nonexistence is better than the presence of pain in existence. I argued that the same applies for pleasure thereby claiming that there is a symmetry rather than an asymmetry in Benetar's argument. That is because I think that a universe full of sentient beings that only experiences benefit is better than a universe without sentient beings.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.3k
    I want to point out first that your position seems different to that of David Benetar. Benetar has stated explicitly that his main axiological asymmetry is "axiological" rather than metaphysical(read his book or listen to his discussion with Sam Harris for more details). He also states in his book that the absence of pain is not literarily or absolutely good in his asymmetry. We are not deriving utility in our universe from all the beings that were never born, that is to say. Also, I don't understand how you stances could be a strong "metaphysical" stance since metaphysics refers to the study of what there is out there. Any metaphysical claim should begin with something like "There is".TheHedoMinimalist

    I don't have the book with me. I used to have it but no longer in my possession. If you have an online source, please let me know. From what I gather, preventing bad is intrinsically good. The reason I say this is that he says this obtains sub specie aeternitatis which is taking an objective view of preventing bad. That is why I say it is absolute- it is good no matter if there is a person there to experience the prevention of bad or not. The fact that bad was prevented is good- even if there is no one there to witness this. However, the same does not seem to obtain for preventing good. Preventing good, is only bad if there is someone who is there to experience this deprivation, or more specifically, there is someone there who may be deprived of good. If there is no specific person who knows they are deprived of good, this is not bad, but neutral. This to me means that preventing good is simply instrumentally bad (only if someone is alive to be deprived, but neutral otherwise), while preventing harm is absolutely good (whether someone exists to know or not, preventing harm is always good).
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    47

    Here's a link to the ebook:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/antinatalism/comments/5giu51/david_benatar_better_never_to_have_been_the_full/

    Chapter 2 is the one where he talks about the main asymmetry argument. I'll try to see if I can find some quotes where he states that absence of pain is relatively good rather than intrinsically good
  • khaled
    363
    "Kidnap: High chance of pleasure (good), Low chance of suffering (Bad)."Terrapin Station

    No youre not looking at the option fully. The situation above IS exactly that situation of doing something that only has a risk of harming others and does nothing else. An "unborn child" doesn't miss out on being born. It's not like there's a spirit baby sighing every time someone decides not to have kids. This is why absense of pleasure in this case is completely meaningless. It doesn't harm anyone. It's not like:

    Do X: chance of pleasure and chance of pain or

    Don't do X: miss out on pleasure (a form of pain) and no chance of pain
    (The situation you have a problem with)

    It's:
    Give birth: Chance of pleasure and chance of pain

    Don't give birth: No chance of pain and no chance of missing out on pleasure (aka no harm done but much harm prevented)

    An example: some people are "harmed" by offensive speechTerrapin Station

    Yes and it would be immoral to utter offensive speech at them when no one benefits from it. So for example it's not moral for me to walk up to random people and Target their insecurities for no reason similar to how it's immoral to hurt people if you don't get anything out out of it or you get less out of it than the other guy loses
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