• Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I think that the fact that we cannot consent to be brought into existence creates a real and serious problem.

    At the least we have consent hypocrisy. Rape is considered bad because the person being assaulted did not consent to sex and is being imposed upon. But no one chose to be born so life is an imposition.

    I don't see how we can claim that person X was not imposed upon if they had no choice or if they were forced to make a choice.

    The wider problem is of social contracts and accountability.

    I think parents can be held accountable for the life they created but I don't think anyone can be held accountable for their own existence. I think creating another existence is special responsibility and an endorsement of life but simply existing isn't.

    This thread is not about antinatalism however but about how we can have a rational or just society that honestly analyses consent and responsibility.
  • Relativist
    851
    I think creating another existence is special responsibility and an endorsement of life but simply existing isn't.Andrew4Handel
    I agree, but what particular duties are entailed by this special responsibility?
  • Patulia
    26
    If I understood correctly what you meant by "consent to be brought into existence", I think that we cannot talk about giving consent in such a situation. Consent is defined as "permission for something to happen or agreement to do something". I don't think consent, as we have defined it, can be given before being born. A similar line of reasoning can be applied to the fear of death: you are dead, you cannot feel pain and you cannot experience human emotions as we know them, since your body and all the functions related to it can't coexist with what is know as "death" (of course, you can be scared of what might happen to the people around you after your death) . If you are not yet born, you cannot give consent since you don't have any of the brain function and any of the experience needed to actually give consent. And even when you are born, you still haven't developed all those functions yet. That's the reason why there is an age of consent for sex in the first place, for example. How can you give or not give consent to something you now absolutely nothing about? Now, I'm sorry if I wasn't really clear, but English isn't my first language, I'm quite young and don't have a solid philosophical education. Also, it's my first time writing on this forum so forgive me if I have made any mistakes.
    P. S. I'm talking in atheist terms, so your idea of an after life and of what we were (or where we were) before being born could be different from mine.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I agree, but what particular duties are entailed by this special responsibility?Relativist

    I think a simple acknowledgement is vital. A change in mindset. A proper apportioning of responsibility.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k


    Your English is great.

    I know consent to be born is impossible. I think that makes creating someone else very problematic because you cannot claim they exist through their own wishes and desires. It creates a kind of imposition.

    However here I am talking about how you can be considered to have consented to anything after you start to exist just because you started to exist.

    For example being born in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia does not mean you agreed to be a communist or Nazi.

    Wherever you are born does not mean you agree with or consent to societal or family norms in that place.

    Yet people are treated as if they have somehow signed a social contract and agree with their societies or families norms.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    I think that the fact that we cannot consent to be brought into existence creates a real and serious problem.Andrew4Handel

    You say you're not arguing anti-natalism, but it seems like you are. Or maybe I've misunderstood what you're trying to say.

    As for your point about consenting to be born - Until they reach an age where they can make decisions for themselves, a child's consent is vested in it's parents, which is as it should be. With babies, the mother and father decide what it eats, where it lives, who it knows, what it does. That's the way it works. How could it be otherwise. I don't see any reason why the parents don't have the right to make the decision that a child will be born.

    I find it hard to take the anti-natalist position seriously, at least as it has usually been presented on the forum. It's not fair! Stomps feet. No one gave me a choice about being born!!! Stomps feet again. As my football couch used to say - Suck it up.
  • Wallows
    9k
    I just doesn't make sense to ask for consent to live of a newborn baby.
  • Patulia
    26
    Well, the consent thing is something I don't entirely agree on as well, but I also think that giving birth to another human being is a matter of responsibility: it's not about giving life, but rather giving a good, and if not good than decent, life to another individual. What matters is what life and opportunities you can give a child once born, not what he or she would have been if he or she had not "consented" to live.
  • Possibility
    622
    I think parents can be held accountable for the life they created but I don't think anyone can be held accountable for their own existence. I think creating another existence is special responsibility and an endorsement of life but simply existing isn't.Andrew4Handel

    As a parent, I think we are held responsible for establishing a life that is sufficiently aware/prepared to take responsibility for its own existence. This is true of any species - but there is much more that we must learn from each other in order to exist as human beings. I also think that parents (particularly in societies where daycare and school systems assume much of this responsibility) are often unaware of or misinformed about their responsibility, and so they often fail to achieve this. The child then grows up unprepared or unwilling to assume responsibility for their existence when they finally realise that no-one ever gets a choice initially.

    I think perhaps there has been a separation of our rights from our responsibilities that confuses this issue of consent. When children are given rights, there are responsibilities attached to them. The idea that we should ‘let kids be kids’ pressures parents to give consent for their children to have certain rights without the accompanying responsibilities. A 15 year old girl, for instance, has every right to get herself into a position where she is no longer legally responsible for what happens to her body. In these situations, is a parent supported in with-holding the rights of their child until she is sufficiently aware/prepared to take this responsibility?

    If consent is ‘permission for something to happen or agreement to do something’, then in my opinion it’s insufficient to describe the mutual agreement entered into for any sexual activity, and isn’t going to solve the issue of rape or sexual assault. Sex is not uni-directional, despite how it’s commonly portrayed. So it shouldn’t be a case of my giving consent to an activity, but of two people entering into a social agreement.

    To put it very mildly, rape and other sexual assault occurs when there is a disagreement between parties on their rights and responsibilities in relation to each other. That ‘no means no’ is insufficient suggests that we’re not dealing with mere consent, but with a more complex social agreement. Not just what am I saying yes to, but also what does he think I’m saying yes to? Am I agreeing to just this action, or to everything he might assume is a ‘natural’ follow-on? Can I change my mind if I don’t like it? Can I stop if I’m in pain?

    Sexual acts could be seen as a social agreement where all rights have accompanying reponsibilities. If she is no longer taking responsibility for her actions, she has relinquished her right to act. But if he accepts (or takes away) the right to act or speak on her behalf, he is then responsible for her situation as well as his own actions towards her. If she takes back that right, it is no longer his right to act on. If he accepts the right (freely given or not) to act in a way that may potentially cause her pain, he is responsible for the pain that he causes.

    What should be very clear is that both parties have the capacity to accept or refuse the right and accompanying responsibility - this is what is often overlooked. What they should not be allowed to do is accept the right without the responsibility - or refuse responsibility without relinquishing the right.

    But I don’t think this is how society currently views consent and responsibility.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    Consent is an issue for things that are capable of granting or withholding consent.

    It can't be an issue for things that are not capable of granting or withholding consent.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    Consent is an issue for things that are capable of granting or withholding consent.

    It can't be an issue for things that are not capable of granting or withholding consent.
    Terrapin Station

    I am not talking about that. I am talking about the fact that after we start to exist we have not consented to the social or political order etc.

    We know that once a human is born and grows they will be capable of withholding consent. You do not need to wait until someone is born to assess a capacity for consent because we know they will value consent based on the current members of our species experiences.

    The welfare of the unborn can be and clearly is an issue this his been exploited in eugenics programs and climate change arguments etc..

    However here I am discussing the lack of consent that arises once someone is born until they explicitly give consent at some stage.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    prepared to take responsibility for its own existencePossibility

    This is impossible because no one is responsible for their existence because their parents are.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I just doesn't make sense to ask for consent to live of a newborn baby.Wallows

    I am not discussing that.I am discussing the fact that none can automatically be considered to have consented any aspect of life and society.

    The issue is a lack of a social contract that has been signed by anyone accepting any social norms or common moralities and philosophies.
  • Wallows
    9k
    I am discussing the fact that none can automatically be considered to have consented any aspect of life and society.Andrew4Handel

    Yeah, and since they can't form coherent sentences, or let alone consent to anything.

    What I'm saying is that it's not a "good" decision bestowed by a parent, rather a projection of insecurities and concerns about the world onto a fictional entity that is this unborn child.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    However here I am discussing the lack of consent that arises once someone is born until they explicitly give consent at some stage.Andrew4Handel

    Well, typically we don't consider kids to be capable of consent until they're older--until they've gone through puberty, or until they've reached adulthood, etc. Hence why we don't allow kids to choose whether they want to bother with school, with doctors, why we don't allow them to choose to drink and smoke and drive and have jobs and get tattoos and have sex etc.

    We could argue that consent should be an issue earlier than it is, but then we need to be prepared for allowing kids to make their own decisions about all of that sort of stuff and then some. A lot of people aren't prepared to allow that.

    Re political situations and so on. some people (like me) only consider consent an issue for things that are actions you're directly involved with--actions that are done to you, where you're "physically" involved in direct forces applied to you, but sure, to some extent political situations factor into that. But (a) that's the whole theory of allowing people to vote, to have a say in what laws we have, etc., once we consider them old enough to consent, and (b) it's difficult to figure how we could have societies that only consist of things that you opt into, although that's part of the gist of minarchist libertarianism, for example.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I don't see any reason why the parents don't have the right to make the decision that a child will be born.T Clark

    There are lots of things that should or could deter a parent from having a child. Are you seriously claiming anyone anywhere in any circumstances is somehow entitled to have a child.

    No one has natural rights. The only reason people can have children is because no one prevents them and nature allows it.
    Someone could easily kill someone else and nature won't intervene (see genocides) the fact that you can do something naturally does not invest it with any legitimacy.

    In civilized countries parents have limited rights over their children unless they agree to treat them a certain way. Thousands of children are taken of there parents each year. A man addicted to drugs and his two partners in my city had all 8 of their children taken away at birth.

    However I am not talking about this but the lack of consent after birth to the circumstances of life and social politics etc.

    Your position seems very arrogant assuming parent are adequately bringing their children into a just and rational political situation.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    Well, typically we don't consider kids to be capable of consent until they're older--until they've gone through puberty, or until they've reached adulthood, etcTerrapin Station

    At some stage a person will be able to exhibit rational consent.

    A very young child already withdraws its consent for a lot of things.

    They often say no and can experience harm and desire boundaries. Also there is no reason to believes that the parents are capable of being a reasonable parent and the grounds to judge this problematic. It isn't children that voted for the Nazi's etc.

    I think peoples analysis of childhood here is very unrealistic.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    At some stage a person will be able to exhibit rational consent.

    A very young child already withdraws its consent for a lot of things.

    They often say no and can experience harm and desire boundaries. Also there is no reason to believes that the parents are capable of being a reasonable parent and the grounds to judge this problematic. It isn't children that voted for the Nazi's etc.

    I think peoples analysis of childhood here is very unrealistic.
    Andrew4Handel

    Sure. My opinions on this are fairly controversial, but as I said, the vast majority of people aren't ready to let kids decide whether they want to drink and get tattoos and have sex (with whoever they might choose to have sex with), etc.

    If you're not ready for those things, then you think that kids aren't capable of consenting to some things, either.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    We could argue that consent should be an issue earlier than it is, but then we need to be prepared for allowing kids to make their own decisions about all of that sort of stuff. A lot of people aren't prepared to allow that.Terrapin Station

    I am talking about a complete lack of consent until someones explicitly gives consent there is no aspect of life someone has consented to until they give consent.

    I have to use the kidnap analogy here. Someone who is kidnapped has clearly not consented to anything and they are no considered to have any obligation their kidnapper.

    The kidnap scenario undermines consent although it does not completely prevent it. But I see no justification to turn around to someone and tell them how they should feel about life or their existence. It is for them to decide.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    My opinions on this are fairly controversial, but as I said, the vast majority of people aren't ready to let kids decide whether they want to drink and get tattoos and have sexTerrapin Station

    These are not the consent issues that concern me they are about endorsement of wider society and politics.

    Anyhow I would strongly disputes that parents are making rational decisions for their offspring.

    However I mentioned the Nazi/Communist example that you can't assume a child is Nazi, a communist, Christian. Hindu or atheist just because they were born into this environment.

    I think consent is an existential problem when you realise people did not consent to most of their circumstances.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    These are not the consent issues that concern meAndrew4Handel

    Okay, but you can't really be selective about it. If you're going to argue that kids need to consent to their situation, you're opening up the door to consent about everything.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    This is true of any speciesPossibility

    I think the only species capable of reflecting on the ramifications of having children (and we have consistently failed to do this) is humans.

    There are many different models of reproduction with varying proposed levels of sentience.

    Before we might have children we have a huge amount of information to refer to before we make that decision. People act like having children is inevitable when it certainly isn't.

    If you bring children into a negative situation (most people do) then you have already failed in my opinion to prove some kind of parental authority/responsibility regardless of the lack of capacities of children.

    Despite the limits of children it is adults that are causing the most violence, mayhem and prejudice etc.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    Okay, but you can't really be selective about it. If you're going to argue that kids need to consent to their situation, you're opening up the door to consent about everything.Terrapin Station

    My position is that none consented to being born and after coming to exist they did not consent to anything unless they explicitly consent to it.

    To me that withholds legitimacy from any social, familial or political structure that someone withholds their consent from.

    My older brother has had MS in its severe form for 20 years that has left him helpless and paralyzed. I can't imagine anyone consenting to that.

    I think the case of what people might consent to is highly speculative a deeply problematic.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    My position is that none consented to being bornAndrew4Handel

    But that's nonsensical, because consent can't be an issue in that regard.

    after coming to exist they did not consent to anything unless they explicitly consent to it.Andrew4Handel

    I don't really buy that consent has to be explicit for everything, although I think that's important for some things . . . to the point of requiring contracts for some things.

    My older brother has had MS in its severe form for 20 years that has left him helpless and paralyzed. I can't imagine anyone consenting to that.Andrew4Handel

    I don't see that as something that requires consent, because it's not an action directly performed on someone by some other agent. Consent is only an issue for that in my opinion. Talking about consenting to physical "laws," mosquito bites, and so on seems kind of ridiculous.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    it's not an action directly performed on someone by some other agent. Consent is only an issue for that in my opinion.Terrapin Station

    I find your position unbelievable and implausible.

    I don't to need to stick my hand in a fire to know i would not consent to having my hand stuck in a fire. the future is speculation and doesn't exist but it is easy to assess what we might desire in the future.

    If people have a genetically transmittable illness they can assess whether or not future offspring might want to inherit that disease and this happens and people use contraceptives or have abortions.

    There is a lot of evidence against your position such as contraception and any other means of birth prevention. People successfully try and prevent births due to future connotations.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    I don't to need to stick my hand in a fire to know i would not consent to having my hand stuck in a fire.Andrew4Handel

    If you have a fire in your house and get trapped so that you're burned, it's not a consent issue.

    The circumstance where you're consenting or not to sticking your hand in a fire is where you have an option to stick your hand in a fire and choose to, or where someone is offering a fire to you to stick your hand in. When it's not something being performed as an action on you by another moral agent and you have no choice in the matter, it's not a consent issue.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    where you have an option to stick your hand in a fire and choose to, or where someone is offering a fire to you to stick your hand inTerrapin Station

    This is a bizarre notion of consent issues.

    A unconscious person can not express their consent on whether they would like their hand stuck in a fire. Unconscious people can never express an opinion so this period of inability to voice consent does not entail any rights or justifications for someone else to do something to them

    Your positions entails that as soon as someone is unconscious or asleep then their inability to consent justifies whatever you do to them.

    Their are facts such as facts about the pain of burns that can be conceptually generalized to future humans
  • Terrapin Station
    13.5k
    A unconscious person can not express their consent on whether they would like their hand stuck in a fire. Unconscious people can never express an opinion so this period of inability to voice consent does not entail any rights or justifications for someone else to do something to them

    Your positions entails that as soon as someone is unconscious or asleep then their inability to consent justifies whatever you do to them.
    Andrew4Handel

    So, if your house catches on fire and you can't escape being burned, is that a consent issue?
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    There are lots of things that should or could deter a parent from having a child. Are you seriously claiming anyone anywhere in any circumstances is somehow entitled to have a child.Andrew4Handel

    You are misstating my position. What I wrote was specifically in relation to your claim that an unborn child can't consent to being born. I said that her prospective parents provide that consent, just as they will after the child is born and until she is old enough to decide things for herself.

    Now, as to whether or not "anyone anywhere in any circumstances" is entitled to have a child - I don't know anything about entitlement, but in the United States at least, consenting, competent adult men and women wanting to have children are able to.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    is that a consent issueTerrapin Station

    I think your notion of consent issues is arbitrary.

    The point is that most humans can withhold consent at some stage in their lives.

    Your position seems almost evil in exploiting the fact that at some stage people can't give informed consent.

    In the issue of child sexual abuse. The adult is prosecuted not vindicated because the child can't give informed consent.

    But the overall issue is that at some stage most humans can withhold their consent from anything. Your position apparently relies on a complete failure of your imagination so that you cannot imagine that anyone other than yourself could have differing desires and values.

    If I ever did hypothetical have a child I would have no problem understanding that they are not me and will have separate and individual desires. I would not expect them to endorse any of my values or consider me an expert in anything simply because I had a reproductive capacity.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I said that her prospective parents provide that consent,T Clark

    you cannot consent on behalf of someone else. That is not their consent, wishes or desires.

    The child comes to exist what ever crazy desires those might be. unfortunately most people, try and make their child agree with their beliefs and values rather than finding out the child's perspective.
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