• Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    ake procreation acts themselves - would it notake be better if they could be consented to?Bartricks

    No, because consent isn't an issue with procreation. Consent is only an issue when we're talking about things that are normally capable of granting or withholding consent.

    Otherwise it's like talking about whether a rock consents to something you do to it.
  • Bartricks
    626
    That's question begging - it IS an issue with procreation as even kids themselves recognise ("I didn't choose to be born!").

    A small child is incapable of giving consent, but it is still wrong to do things to that child that will affect it for the rest of its life, and wrong in no small part BECASUE it has not consented to them.
  • Bartricks
    626
    For example, take child sex abuse - that is seriously wrong in no small part precisely because children cannot consent to sex, yes? Yet by your logic the fact they're incapable of giving consent means that cannot be any part of the story about why it is wrong. It is part of the story - a very important part of it - which just underlines that you do not have to be capable of giving consent before your lack of it constitutes a serious bad-maker.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    That's question beggingBartricks

    If it's question-begging in your view we have much bigger problems. So you're thinking that we might exist somehow prior to conception? Or are you thinking that nonexistent things might somehow be normally capable of granting or withholding consent?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    Yet by your logic the fact they're incapable of giving consent means that cannot be any part of the story about why it is wrong.Bartricks

    Correct. If we're going to claim that children are not normally capable of granting or withholding consent to x, then we can't claim that x was done to them nonconsensually (or consensually). Saying that it was consensual/nonconsensual would be a category error if we're saying that they're not normally capable of granting or withholding consent to x. (I'm stating it with a variable because it would go for anything we're talking about.)
  • S
    11.4k
    no, it is default wrong to coerce someone - and default wrong to deceive someone - because the nature of the act is such that it cannot be consented to (as Kanot pointed out ). Perhaps that's the wrong analysis but it'd be absurd to deny it's plausibility. And thats also the nature of procreation acts, so they are default wrong too, or at least it is extremely plausible that they are.Bartricks

    No. It isn't plausible at all because it doesn't make any sense, as I've explained. Just as it doesn't make any sense to talk about consent in relation to bananas. It's a simple category error. A fallacy.
  • S
    11.4k
    so, just to be clear, you are denying that the fact a person will be seriously affected by an act and cannot consent to it is NOT a moral negative most of the time? Because that is just absurd.

    It clearly IS a moral negative most of the time. For instance whenever we have - for other moral reasons - to impose something on someone without their prior consent it is almost invariably regrettable. That is, it would have been better if somehow, per impossible, we could have got it.

    Take procreation acts themselves - would it notake be better if they could be consented to?
    Bartricks

    Impossible hypotheticals won't help you. It's impossible. And it therefore makes no sense. Consent is a legitimate concern in legitimate cases, but not in illegitimate cases where consent is a category error.
  • S
    11.4k
    A small child is incapable of giving consent, but it is still wrong to do things to that child that will affect it for the rest of its lifeBartricks

    Yes, because of the consequences of the action.

    and wrong in no small part BECASUE it has not consented to them.Bartricks

    No, because they can't consent, because consent is inapplicable. It's a category error.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k


    All @Bartricks is saying is that you CAN'T give consent prior to birth. Birth causes unknown suffering. Ergo, DON'T give birth since consent is impossible. He is saying the default decision in this case should be no birth.
  • S
    11.4k
    All Bartricks is saying is that you CAN'T give consent prior to birth. Birth causes unknown suffering. Ergo, DON'T give birth since consent is impossible. He is saying the default decision in this case should be no birth.schopenhauer1

    I can read. The conclusion doesn't follow, consent is an irrelevant category error, and repeating things in all caps doesn't help.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    I can read. The conclusion doesn't follow, consent is an irrelevant category error, and repeating things in all caps doesn't help.S

    Being a category error is irrelevant. The logic follows if you use the term "impossible".

    If it is impossible to get consent and a future action leads to unknown suffering that affects an actual person, then do not procreate that person who will be affected by being born and who will experience unknown suffering.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.5k
    All Bartricks is saying is that you CAN'T give consent prior to birth. Birth causes unknown suffering. Ergo, DON'T give birth since consent is impossible. He is saying the default decision in this case should be no birth.schopenhauer1

    Okay, but I'm simply pointing out that you can't nonconsensually conceive a child, either. Consent is a category error here.
  • S
    11.4k
    Being a category error is irrelevant.schopenhauer1

    Lol, no it isn't. It means the argument fails.

    The logic follows if you use the term "impossible".

    If it is impossible to get consent and a future action leads to unknown suffering that affects an actual person, then do not procreate that person who will be affected by being born and who will experience unknown suffering.
    schopenhauer1

    If you think that conclusion follows, then you need to restudy logic.
  • Shamshir
    743
    If it is impossible to get consent and a future action leads to unknown suffering that affects an actual person, then do not procreate that person who will be affected by being born and who will experience unknown suffering.schopenhauer1
    If it is impossible to predict whether a tortoise will fall on your head and the impact will kill you, then do not leave your home, lest fortune claims your life.
  • petrichor
    186
    What I am saying is that having children is, initially, only about two people and what they do with their bodiesEcharmion

    But where conception is a good possibility, it just never is only about two people and what they want to do with their bodies. Many people do fail to think about the possible consequences. But there's no excuse. Unlike lower animals, people know how babies are made. Too many unthinking people have this attitude, they just want to fuck and to hell with the consequences! Such people are acting like animals.


    This seems like a very weird argument to me. The world, or the universe, are not human beings. To talk about the "overall suffering of the world/universe" sounds like nonsense to me.Echarmion

    Ah, but humans beings are part of the world. We are the very self-experiencing of the universe. What else experiences being humans? Something outside the universe? What are we, at bottom? There is ultimately just one experiencing subject, and it is that which is everything. There are no truly distinct things. Many, from Spinoza to Schopenhauer to Schrodinger to the mystics from various religious traditions have come to this conclusion. This thread isn't the place to argue it, but I have strongly come to this conclusion.

    You may not buy it, but for the moment, just humor me and entertain the possibility that there is but one universal subject experiencing all perspectives simultaneously, one that is the whole universe at once. Would that change how you see this matter we are discussing now? Does it matter what position we take on the question of personal identity and consciousness? It seems that it might change the way we see these arguments about people not yet existing. Only if people are seen to have truly existing and truly discrete selves, something not unlike a soul created at the moment the person begins to exist, does it make sense to say that they don't yet exist. Otherwise we are really just talking about changing the form of something already existing.


    I think you're mixing two things here, responsibility and intent.Echarmion

    I don't think the two can be entirely separated. In order for you to be held morally responsible for something, the intent to reach that outcome must be there, or at least the knowledge that such an outcome was a good possibility. If you truly and completely accidentally cause an event to happen, you might be said to be in some sense responsible, but not morally. It would be absurd to hold you morally responsible for something you never intended or knew could happen, such as if you poured poison into someone's coffee thinking it was sugar.

    I personally think only action and intent matter, not the outcome.Echarmion

    But consideration of outcome is always part of intent. I'm not talking necessarily about the actual eventual outcome, but about perceived possibility of outcome at the time of the action. To say you intend to kill someone means you anticipate a certain possible outcome, and you do the action knowing that this outcome is possible or likely. In the case of unprotected heterosexual sex between fertile adults, there is a known possibility of a new child being the result, one who must now face all the problems of life and must deal with the circumstances you give to it.

    Let's put aside for the moment the question of whether or not iife is worth living, and of whether or not we should ever have kids at all. Personally, I am unsure on these two questions anyway. If we put these questions aside and look at more specific conditions, would you ever think it correct for people having sex with the possibility of conception to give consideration to potential children? Suppose the two people have no means of providing the child health care and maybe no reliable means of feeding it. Suppose they are in an active and intense war zone. What then? Should they consider the conditions that the potential child might encounter? Suppose they have contraceptives and they are deciding whether or not to use them. Should the likely future experience of the child influence their decision? Or should they only consider the here and now and their bodies and what they themselves want?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    Okay, but I'm simply pointing out that you can't nonconsensually conceive a child, either. Consent is a category error here.Terrapin Station

    It isn't if you phrase it correctly. Personally, I focus on the affect/effect and not so much on the consent argument, but it can be phrased in a way that is meaningful and makes sense.

    A) There is a situation A where a person will be affected if X happens, but it would be impossible to get consent from the person who will be affected if X happens.

    B) In situations like A where a person will be affected if X happens and it is impossible to get consent, do not do X.

    That is the main claim here.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    If you think that conclusion follows, then you need to restudy logic.S

    I don't see how it doesn't.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    If it is impossible to predict whether a tortoise will fall on your head and the impact will kill you, then do not leave your home, lest fortune claims your life.Shamshir

    So it is impossible to distinguish degree of harm? One cannot weigh the difference between the probability of a tortoise falling on one's head vs. driving a car vs. 100% something affecting another person?
  • S
    11.4k
    I don't see how it doesn't.schopenhauer1

    Then, like I said, you need to restudy logic. You can't validly derive the conclusion that you shouldn't give birth from the premise that it's impossible to get consent and the premise that birthing a child causes unknown suffering. There are missing premises. And even if you can manage to put together a valid argument, it will still remain unsound. But at least that way we can pinpoint any false premises.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k

    Yeah I'm not putting the other premises in there. I think you can fill those in..and if you can..you know where the argument was going in the first place and this objection is an exercise in objecting.
  • S
    11.4k
    Yeah I'm not putting the other premises in there. I think you can fill those in..and if you can..you know where the argument was going in the first place and this objection is an exercise in objecting.schopenhauer1

    Sounds like you're coming around to the idea that these discussions you keep creating are pointless, as it has been done to death. You already know that the full argument contains objectionable premises, yet you continue to peddle it.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    Sounds like you're coming around to the idea that these discussions you keep creating are pointless, as it has been done to death. You already know that the full argument contains objectionable premises, yet you continue to peddle it.S

    That's not true at all. But yes, arguing with you is objectionable at times. The point is that if you are affecting someone so profoundly as in the case of literally birthing them, and that action leads to profound negative consequences- all of life's harms that happen as a result of being born... Well you know where that is going. That can have several things attached to the conclusion. Some people focus on consent. I don't do that usually. I focus on negative outcomes prevented with no cost of being deprived of good to an actual person.
  • S
    11.4k
    That's not true at all.schopenhauer1

    You're right, despite how it may have sounded, we all know you're too obsessed to let the matter go.
    And yes, you really, really, really, really don't need to repeat your exaggerated failure of an argument. I've definitely heard it all before. Multiple times. And funnily enough, believe it or not, it continues to suffer from the same faults.
  • khaled
    1k
    My point in full was not just about you and I, but billions of people, and it's clearly not irrelevant for any reasonable analysis. And none of your analogies are ever close enough to be appropriate. Stabbing someone isn't close enough to giving birthS

    Of course. They are extremes intended to show a general principle.

    Any argument which relies on a false analogy is worthless.S

    They don't "rely" on analogies. Analogies just make them easier to understand, extreme as the ones I chose were

    No it isn'tS

    Would you like to demonstrate?

    unsupported assertion that the least risky option is always preferred when consent is not available.S

    I never thought someone would ask for evidence for this but sure. Here is one: You are never allowed to buy something with other people's money even if you think it's good for them as long as you can't ask them first.

    The counterexample refuting your assertion is that of a person who has had an accident leaving them unconscious and requiring urgent surgery in order to stay alive, with the alternative of doing nothing almost certainly resulting in death, and the decision being in the hands of the person's next of kin. Now, according to your warped way of thinking, death would be the least risky optionS

    Death is the least risky option? Really? There is absolutely no chance that unconscious person wouldn't have wished to die? There is very little risk in killing them? Are you listening to yourself?

    Death has a massively negative value for those living. Remaining non existant doesn't have a negative value for those who don't exist (if it even makes sense to say that, the point is no one is harmed by not existing but people are harmed by dying). That's why your analogy doesn't work.

    because that would avoid all of the risks accompanied with continued livingS

    Doesn't matter, in the case of a subconsious person, they had the ability to express a desire to live. Knowing that most people express a desire to live means you don't have a right to kill them even if you think it would be better for them. You'd need their consent to do that (because they view the cessation of their life as a negative). That is the difference between a subconscious person and a non existent one. One has goals and desires that they temporarily are unaware of, the other never had those to begin with.

    That's not an implication of my point,S

    The implication is: As long as someone can kill themselves to leave an unpleasant situation, that justifies putting them there. I don't think either of us agree with that.
  • khaled
    1k
    I don't really see how this changes the argument. If you aren't alive, you don't exist.

    Let me put this another way: if you want to say it's "less risk" you need to be able to quantify the risk. So at least in theory you have to able to say "X imposes risk of magnitude 50, while Y imposes risk of magnitude 30, so Y is less risky than X". The problem is that you cannot make such a comparison. If a person isn't alive, their risk of harm isn't 0, it's [ ], an empty set. There is nothing to compare with.
    Echarmion

    I think you can say the risk of harm is 0 in that situation. It is trivially true that if a certain person doesn't exist that person is not risked any harm (Because he doesn't exist). Again, I don't see a reason to treat an action that WILL risk harming someone any differently based on the fact that they don't exist at the time said action took place. Examples: I think it's wrong to genetically modify children to suffer even though that doesn't actually harm anyone, I think it's wrong to have children if one is severely in debt and there is a chance they will have to take on that debt, etc

    You don't seem to think so but you don't take the opposite stance of saying that that fact matters in a significant way. If you're agnostic about this general principle there is nothing I can do to convince you. It is the principle the entire argument rests upon.

    But then again that should mean you're agnostic about whether or not having children is right.
  • S
    11.4k
    Of course. They are extremes intended to show a general principle.khaled

    They don't, because the situations are too dissimilar, like in all of your attempts throughout this discussion.

    They don't "rely" on analogies. Analogies just make them easier to understand, extreme as the ones I chose werekhaled

    They do. You make the false analogy, and then you direct questions at me intended to challenge my position which only work if the analogy is true. But the analogies aren't true, so the intended challenge fails, and I don't even have to answer the question, because the answer would be irrelevant.

    I never thought someone would ask for evidence for this but sure. Here is one: You are never allowed to buy something with other people's money even if you think it's good for them as long as you can't ask them first.khaled

    Funny. Even if I were to grant that, a single example in no way demonstrates that the least risky option is always preferred when consent is not available. If that were true, then it would be so in every single case that one could possibly imagine. Good luck trying to demonstrate that!

    Death is the least risky option? Really? There is absolutely no chance that unconscious person wouldn't have wished to die? There is very little risk in killing them? Are you listening to yourself?khaled

    Yes, death would be the least risky option according to your own warped logic. Why react in a dumbfounded way to your own logic? Are you listening to yourself?

    And no, in the thought experiment, the person didn't wish to die, and the next of kin knows that.

    Death has a massively negative value for those living. Remaining non existant doesn't have a negative value for those who don't exist (if it even makes sense to say that, the point is no one is harmed by not existing but people are harmed by dying). That's why your analogy doesn't work.khaled

    Your reasoning is inconsistent. Nonexistence is the ideal according to you, so death would be a positive. Just as you suggest that it's horrible to conceive a human, by that same logic, one could suggest that it's horrible to keep them in that situation.

    Doesn't matter, in the case of a subconsious person, they had the ability to express a desire to live. Knowing that most people express a desire to live means you don't have a right to kill them even if you think it would be better for them.khaled

    Then you should be consistent and let everyone decide for themselves. You don't have a right to stop people from conceiving, and then giving birth, and then letting that baby decide for itself when it's old enough. Nothing to do with you.

    The implication is: As long as someone can kill themselves to leave an unpleasant situation, that justifies putting them there. I don't think either of us agree with that.khaled

    I repeat, that's not an implication of my point. That's your misunderstanding. I don't have any burden to defend your misunderstanding of my point. Do you understand that? This has been a problem throughout this discussion, and it continues to be so.
  • Echarmion
    647
    I think you can say the risk of harm is 0 in that situation. It is trivially true that if a certain person doesn't exist that person is not risked any harm (Because he doesn't exist).khaled

    I don't think that statement is trivially true. I think it's false due to a category error. Just repeating our respective claims here doesn't get us anywhere.

    I understand you think a deterministic universe kinda makes people exist "in the future", but this kind of thinking doesn't work when we assume we have a choice whether or not to have children.

    Again, I don't see a reason to treat an action that WILL risk harming someone any differently based on the fact that they don't exist at the time said action took place.khaled

    But there is a difference when said action created the other person in the first place. Because we cannot assume the other person already exists while also assuming we are choosing whether or not they exist.

    You don't seem to think so but you don't take the opposite stance of saying that that fact matters in a significant way. If you're agnostic about this general principle there is nothing I can do to convince you. It is the principle the entire argument rests upon.khaled

    I am not sure what general principle you refer to here. When I say I am agnostic, what I mean is that none of the arguments brought up so far convince me, but I have not actually fully explored the question on my own terms.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.3k
    I repeat, that's not an implication of my point. That's your misunderstanding. I don't have any burden to defend your misunderstanding of my point. Do you understand that? This has been a problem throughout this discussion, and it continues to be so.S

    No you misunderstand khaled big-time. It's sad that you project onto me and him what you yourself are doing :grimace: .

    Your reasoning is inconsistent. Nonexistence is the ideal according to you, so death would be a positive. Just as you suggest that it's horrible to conceive a human, by that same logic, one could suggest that it's horrible to keep them in that situation.S

    It is not nonexistence tout court, but the asymmetry that occurs prior to existence. I can't believe you still haven't gotten this by now :roll: (taking a page from your shitty arguing style).

    As an aside, you realize, you don't win arguments by showing the most disdain, right? Dispense with the theatrics of snobbery and condescension and actually debate instead of inflate your own ego. See, I feel bad even calling you out on this shit..but that's the difference between me and you.. You don't feel bad.. Again, something odd there. If it is a debate tactic to be patronizing, it sucks. If it is your personality, I'd do some soul searching. If it is just you trying to get a rise out of people, knock it off and just focus on the arguments.

    Then you should be consistent and let everyone decide for themselves. You don't have a right to stop people from conceiving, and then giving birth, and then letting that baby decide for itself when it's old enough. Nothing to do with you.S

    You realize you just contradicted yourself. No one CAN decide for themselves prior to birth. Someone ALWAYS decides for them. Also, no one is "stopping people from conceiving". Khaled is suggesting through argument (not force) that people not procreate. There is a huge difference and to say otherwise is to construct a big fat straw man.
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