• Bartricks
    2k
    I merely pointed out she isn’t an Antinatalist which makes your argument that there is a kantian Antinatalist argument extremely implausible.Mark Dennis

    I don't believe anyone with an MA in philosophy would reason this badly. You seriously think all Kantians agree on substantial normative matters? Blimey.

    Show me what's wrong with my argument. You know, do some actual philosophy like wot you did in your MA.
  • Coben
    1.3k

    I guess I have a scattershot reaction. An antinatalist would, it seems, be against all procreation as consent violation. This entails a goal of preventing, if only by argument, and convincing others, all future human life, or perhaps any life that can experience suffering. These prevented lives are prevented without the consent of the potential life forms.

    Second, as at least a partially consequentialist person, though actually I don't believe in objective morals, I prefer a universe with life, even life that can suffer,and I would guess that most life can suffer. IOW I do not accept consent violation as the value that overrides all other values.

    Third, I think life carries with it its own consent. Life forms want to live, it is inherent in their nature. A person may change their inherent drive to live and thrive once they have been faced with experiences X and Y. We are not creating or causing a life that is reluctantly entering existance, but something that struggles with tremendous energy, the whole organism, to develop into more complicated forms, in the womb, and then to succeed at life once it is out. It may at some point change its mind, but we have no brought into existence some neutral entity. We have brought in another entity that also is scrabbling to have more life and will complain, from very early on, when anything remotely seems to be inhibiliting its development. It is not a tabula rasa, but something seeking to live and thrive from the get go.

    Fourth, we are constantly doing things that potentially violate the consent of others. If we wish to remove the chance of violating the consent of other people, especially if we include the consent of people not yet existing, then we need to die. Any act of mine in the world, including putting forward antinatalist arguments, can have all sorts of unforseen and some forseen effects on potential beings and other present ones. I leave my house, I may set in motion effects that lead to people dying, even if that is not my goal If I argue against birth, then I am making choices for potential beings. If I vote, I am making decisions that will very likely affect future beings. I vote for Trump or I vote against Trump, either may lead to war or policies, in fact pretty much have to lead to some effects, that will kill or prevent the thriving of current or future children.

    Of course a lot of these effects are side effects, whereas choosing to give birth - or at least to have sex - may very well entail the coming into existence of a being. But we are still bulls in china shops with all the actions we take in terms of the side effects of our continuing to live and make decisions. My being a pedestrian in a crosswalk can lead to the swerving of a car that kills a child. I need to erase myself as soon as possible to prevent myself from contributing to the consent violation of other people.

    Sex and procreation are part of a flow that we desire, many of us. Antinatalism is asking us to override the desires involved. Heterosexual penetrative sex is pretty much ruled out, since pregnancy can result in a foetus. An organism now present in the world and already showing development, homeostatic regulation and if not destroyed a tendency towards becoming an independent life form. To stop it via abortion would be a consent violation. It is already here striving towards independent life. To say that heterosexuals should not have penetrative sex and potential parents should not have children, is to say that my value, if I had it, of no children being born, should override their values. Most people do this, iow most people do argue that their values should override the values of others and/or try to argue that the other people are being hypocritical. But as someone who doesn't see morals as objective, I don't see solid grounds for saying the values of people who want to have penetrative heterosexul sex or want to have children should bow down to the antinatalist value. And since I prefer a world with life and heterosexual penetrative sex, my preferences and the seeming preferences of life in general would be violated by the antinatalist meme. I can't say that it is wrong, since I don't believe in objective morals, but I prefer it not to hold reign over humans, though any individuals who don't want to procreate I don't have an issue with.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    is entails a goal of preventing, if only by argument, and convincing others, all future human life, or perhaps any life that can experience suffering. These prevented lives are prevented without the consent of the potential life forms.Coben

    Imagine the last women alive do not want to have sex. Is it ok to rape them to continue the species? No. Why? Because it is important to respect their autonomy. It is more important to respect autonomy, than it is to continue the species - hence what our intuitions tell us about this kind of case.

    Now, in arguing that it is wrong to rape the last women I am not thereby committing myself to the view that life is not worth living, nor am I committing myself to the view that all procreation is wrong. There may be exceptions.

    though actually I don't believe in objective morals, I prefer a universe with life, even life that can suffer,and I would guess that most life can suffer. IOW I do not accept consent violation as the value that overrides all other values.Coben

    So, by your lights nothing is actually right or wrong - we can just do as we like?

    Third, I think life carries with it its own consent. Life forms want to live, it is inherent in their nature. A person may change their inherent drive to live and thrive once they have been faced with experiences X and Y.Coben

    This is incoherent. The fact that someone might subsequently consent to what you've done to them does not mean you didn't disrespect them in doing it. Take rape. It is wrong to rape someone even if that person subsequently doesn't mind.

    Fourth, we are constantly doing things that potentially violate the consent of others.Coben

    Yes, and it nearly always needs justifying (and often can be). The point is that it is default wrong, not that it is always and everywhere wrong.

    For instance, take unavoidability itself - that often justifies what would otherwise have been wrong. But that doesn't work in the procreation case does it, because procreation is avoidable.

    ntinatalism is asking us to override the desires involved. Heterosexual penetrative sex is pretty much ruled out, since pregnancy can result in a foetus.Coben

    That's a wild exaggeration. The demand to remain childless is hardly overly burdensome (indeed, having children is burdensome as virtually all parents seem to confirm). And one can take reasonable precautions and, having done so, one is not then responsible should a pregnancy occur. And plus pregnancies can be terminated.

    An analogy: it is wrong to knowingly infect another person with a venereal disease. Does that mean that one is obliged never to have sex 'just in case' one has one? No, that's absurd - there is just a responsibility to take precautions. Likewise in this case.
  • boethius
    337
    I somehow did not see this reply so am replying now, rather late in the day.Bartricks

    I'm not convinced of this statement, but that of course does not make it untrue.

    No I didn't. Why might a surgeon sometimes be justified in performing surgery on someone who cannot consent? When not doing so would result in a great harm to the patient.Bartricks

    You don't seem to have bothered to have read the argument.

    Greater harm according to who?

    Isn't letting the unconscious person just die avoid harms? Isn't this a lucky case where a person has returned to pre-conscious state and without intervention we can avoid all the harms that this person may experience if they continue to live?

    This is the point in this example. The surgeon cannot know what the patient's definition of harm and not-harm is; the surgeon may also even have a basis, in some situations (such as attempted suicides), to assume the patient does not want to be saved.

    Saving the patient cannot be based on the patient's consent and guarantees further suffering of one sort or another.

    Therefore, if we don't know, and lack of consent is "default wrong", then the default position should be to do nothing for the patient if "default wrong" is to mean anything at all.

    The surgeon is imposing their idea of morality on the unconscious patient without any thought at all of what the patient may or may not consent to. If the surgeon considers the the consent of others it will not be the patient but first the governing laws and who applies them, and only if these laws allow family members' thoughts to matter (cutting life support in brain-dead cases for instance) will the surgeon consider the thoughts of family.

    You previously stated it's default wrong if there's no consent and it significantly affects the person; isn't the unconscious patient in such a position of no consent and any life saving action significantly affects them?

    Aren't parents doing the same thing? Aren't they imposing their idea of morality on their future children in deciding to have and birth a child, without any thought of consent?

    You have not explained how "default wrong" affects the case of parents but not of surgeons.

    You want to fall back on "of course surgeons will save the patient, more good than harm" and have a completely normal view of the thing, but the normal view of parents having children is likewise viewed by society as, in itself, a good and happy thing. Most people, such as yourself, are not concerned about the consent of unconscious patients, but, likewise, most people are not concerned about the consent of the yet-to-be-conceived.

    Furthermore, now your position seems not to have to do with consent but is:

    Now, compare that to a procreation case. Does not creating someone result in a great harm to them? No.Bartricks

    Not only is this the consequential argument, not having children avoids harm to them, but it's an extreme version where it is assuming all children suffer great harm.

    Parents obviously disagree. If you're argument is the birth process is painful to the new-born and there will certainly be other instances of pain, regardless of whether on the whole the infant grows up to be happy about life or not, as stated above we can say the same for the unconscious patient.

    Please note, this seems to me exactly the same as for the unconscious patient: recovering from surgery will be painful, one maybe in chronic pain indefinitely, if living is generally bad we can assume this person's life will be generally bad if revived. Doesn't letting the unconscious person just die avoid these harms?

    If you're argument is that others would be sad, isn't that incompatible with your Kantianism as everyone should actually be happy that all further harms to the individual has been avoided? And it's certainly not a Kantian's business if people are mad about being wrong about something?

    Are you reverting back to your original argument that it's the lack of consent that's the problem? Or are you changing your argument to the extreme consequential argument that living entails lot's of suffering?

    Please clarify.

    So, sometimes - sometimes - we are justified in doing something that significantly affects another person without their prior consent when failing to do so would result in a great harm befalling them.Bartricks

    First, to simply recap what I say above: doesn't letting the unconscious person die avoid further harm, especially if life in general is more harm than good? Where exactly is the harm if the surgeon let's an unconscious person drift off to death?

    Second, whatever your answer to the above, why isn't having children one of these exceptions?

    If a couple invokes your exception rule because either not-having children will make themselves sad and the potential-grandparents sad, or then because they view life in general more good than bad, or then because without children the old will suffer when there is no new generation to keep society running, or all of these and more reasons, seems they can just invoke your "sometimes - sometimes" rule.

    Furthermore, if "more avoiding greater harm" can overrule consent, isn't avoiding greater harm the default principle? I.e. consent doesn't matter, what matters is the avoiding harm principle as the usual consequentialist anti-natatlist position?

    And none of your answers even addressed the issue of government significantly affecting people, both currently living or yet to be born, all the time without consent. If you're reverting back to consent being the real issue rather that the presumption that being born is harmful (which seems to be the basis of your argument now), why are you fine with government disregarding the consent of children, the yet-to-be-born, anyone who rejects the social contract and refuses to consent to anything, why does "lack of consent is default wrong" not bother you in essentially any other case where we ignore consent without a second thought?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I somehow did not see this reply so am replying now, rather late in the day. — Bartricks
    I'm not convinced of this statement, but that of course does not make it untrue.
    boethius

    What was the point in saying that? It is true. I'm in an epistemically special position to know its truth, by dint of being me and thereby knowing far more about why I do things than you do.

    You don't seem to have bothered to have read the argument.boethius

    I did, it is just not very good.

    Your reply is also not very good. You are just blithely assuming an individual subjectivist position on harm - which is an absurd position in its own right and is also clearly not a view assumed by anything I have argued.

    It is prima facie wrong to do something to someone else that significantly affects them without their consent.

    My opinion that that is the case is not what makes it the case. It is self-evident to the reason of most people that it is prima facie wrong to do something to someone else if that act significant affects them without their consent.

    IF someone has the opinion that what I have just said is false, their opinion is almost certainly mistaken. Why? Not because I say so. But because there is plentiful evidence their opinion is false. Namely, the widely corroborated rational intuitions of virtually all people.

    In syaing that it is 'prima facie' wrong I am not saying that it is always and everywhere wrong. There will be lots - lots, note - of exceptions.

    Pointing out these exceptions - which is all you've done so far - is, then, to ignore my argument.

    It is as if I have said "2 + 2 = 4" and your reply is "no, for 2+ 3 = 5". I have said that to significantly affect another without their prior consent is prima facie wrong. You have replied by pointing out that there are many cases in which it is morally permissible, even morally obligatory, to do something that significantly affects another without their prior consent.

    Er, yes. I know. That's consistent with it being prima facie wrong.

    The point is that in the exceptional cases, we can 'explain' why this kind of act is overall right by pointing to the fact that, say, had the act not been performed the affected partly would have been even worse off, or some such.

    Yet that is not the case in procreative acts.

    Thus your examples provide no evidence against my conclusion. Deal with it.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Are you reverting back to your original argument that it's the lack of consent that's the problem? Or are you changing your argument to the extreme consequential argument that living entails lot's of suffering?boethius

    What do you mean 'reverting'? I have said repeatedly that my case for antinatalism is 'cumulative'. That means I think there are numerous arguments - no one by itself decisive - that imply procreation is wrong.

    Sometimes consequences matter. Although it is prima facie wrong to do something to someone else without their prior consent, it is not always wrong. And sometimes it will be right - often in cases where failure to perform the act in question would have dire consequences.

    That's what explains why it is often morally permissible - sometimes morally obligatory - to perform life-changing surgery on unconscious patients, or to force children to go to school, and so on. In those cases - and many more we can conceive of - failure to perform the act would have dire consequences.

    Dire consequences do not always make those acts that prevent them right. But they sometimes do.

    However, in procreation cases there is typically no dire consequences that performing the act averts. Thus, what explains why many other act that affect others without their prior consent are morally permissible (sometimes morally obligatory) does not apply to most cases of procreation.
  • boethius
    337
    What do you mean 'reverting'? I have said repeatedly that my case for antinatalism is 'cumulative'. That means I think there are numerous arguments - no one by itself decisive - that imply procreation is wrong.Bartricks

    Being unable to defend many arguments does not a stronger argument make.

    If lack of consent is a problem, switching to the suffering argument does not provide support for the consent argument. This thread (that you started) is on the topic of lack of consent. If you are acknowledging in your reply here that your lack of consent argument is insufficient to justify antinatalism, then we are finally in agreement. We have come a long way, but I am happy with the destination.

    If you believe a bunch of arguments together justify antinatalism, I suggest you make a new thread with this "cumulative" argument and referencing the arguments that accumulate; either debates such as this one, which, though insufficient to justify antinatalism on its own, play some part in the cumulative argument scheme or then new debates that will to occur in the context of your cumulative structure.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.2k
    Why is there so much focus on (anti)natalism on this forum recently?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Being unable to defend many arguments does not a stronger argument make.boethius

    I can - and have - defended each one! But all you do, when I make one argument, is point out that the argument does not entail that procreation is wrong. Er, I know. In each case we have an argument that implies procreation is prima facie wrong. And together they constitute a very powerful case. That's how cumulative cases work.

    There's a Kantian case; there's a consequentialist case; and there's a virtue-ethics case.
    All you've done, so far as I can tell, is respond to the Kantian case - a case that appeals to the fact we cannot chose to be born - by pointing out something that I accept and that poses no problem for my argument, namely that sometimes it is morally ok, even morally obligatory, to do something to someone without their prior consent.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    If you believe a bunch of arguments together justify antinatalism, I suggest you make a new thread with this "cumulative" argument and referencing the arguments that accumulate; either debates such as this one, which, though insufficient to justify antinatalism on its own, play some part in the cumulative argument scheme or then new debates that will to occur in the context of your cumulative structure.boethius

    No, that's an absurd suggestion. To make a cumulative case one would need to show that each argument had some probative force, and that would require making each argument. And so the opening post would then have to be thousands of words long.

    Let's say I was writing a book on procreation - what would I do? Would I make the cumulative case in chapter 1 and spend the rest of it dealing with objections? No, that would make chapter 1 ridiculously long. I would devote a chapter to each argument and deal with objections to them as they arise. Likewise then, it is sensible here to make a case for each argument, rather than presenting them all at once in an overlong OP that no-one would read.

    So anyway, what you should do is focus on the argument in the OP, which is a perfectly respectable argument. Pointing out repeatedly that the argument only establishes that it is 'prima facie' wrong and that sometimes an act can be justified overall even though it is one that was not consented to - and to represent that point as if it were a refutation - is ridiculous (yet that seems to me to be all you've done). No, what you should do is try to find a case that is relevantly analogous to a case of procreation - that is, an act in which something very significant is done to someone else without their consent - and that seems nevertheless overall justified by other features that are also present in cases of procreation. That you have not done, so far as I can tell.
  • Emind
    4
    And no good arguing that we cannot affect people by bringing them into existence, for that falsely assumes that to be affected by something you need to exist prior to being affected.Bartricks

    This confused me a bit. How is it not the case that to be affected by something you must exist priorly?

    Can something/someone nonexistent be affected by something/someone else?

    What would that even mean? What would be the thing be affected if it's nonexistent?
  • Bartricks
    2k
    Can something/someone nonexistent be affected by something/someone else?Emind

    No, something non-existent cannot be affected by someone else. But if you create someone, then that person exists.

    So, although the non-existent cannot be affected, the act of procreation affects someone existent: namely, the person who has been created.

    Our rational intuitions support this. For example, most people are grateful to their parents for having created them. What's one grateful for if the act did not affect one?

    Plus, consider this case: imagine that Trudy knows that if she has a child, it will be born in agonising pain and die shortly thereafter. Now, surely Trudy does wrong if she has that child, and does wrong because of the harm her act causes to another. Yet if, to be affected by an act one needs to exist prior to the act being performed, then Trudy did not affect the child by creating it - and the first agonising moments of its existence will also not affect it. Yet that seems obviously false.

    So it seems that although you need to exist to be affected by an act, you do not need to exist prior to the affecting act.

    It seems to me, then, that you are conflating the 'existence condition' (which says you need to exist in order to be affected) with what we might call the 'prior existence condition' (which says you need to exist prior to an act in order to be affected by it). The 'existence condition' is true (I think), but the 'prior existence condition' is not.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.8k
    So it seems that although you need to exist to be affected by an act, you do not need to exist prior to the affecting act.

    It seems to me, then, that you are conflating the 'existence condition' (which says you need to exist in order to be affected) with what we might call the 'prior existence condition' (which says you need to exist prior to an act in order to be affected by it). The 'existence condition' is true (I think), but the 'prior existence condition' is not.
    Bartricks

    This is correct. It is amazing that many people dont understand this concept that you dont have to exist prior to a certain point to be harmed ONCE you are actually brought into the world.
  • Emind
    4
    I see where you're coming from, and surmised you would respond something along those lines. I guess the problem I would have with that relates mainly to how you construe it.

    I guess Im not necessarily ready to forego the "prior existence" condition.

    On the following basis:

    It seems to me that there needs to be a certain sort of temporal symmetry when you affect someone.
    The two agents need to exist simultaneously, in the same temporal reality before we can talk about any party affecting the other one.

    Were you to claim otherwise, would that not be falling into a category mistake?

    For instance, in your thought experiment, I would have a somewhat different interpretation. Whereas it seems that you would conceive that Trudy is affecting her child, I would construe it as Trudy doing something that will affect her child in the future.

    It's a somewhat subtle distinction, but one nonetheless.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.8k
    Whereas it seems that you would conceive that Trudy is affecting her child, I would construe it as Trudy doing something that will affect her child in the future.

    It's a somewhat subtle distinction, but one nonetheless.
    Emind

    But all the same, that child will be affected once that future X time happens.
  • Emind
    4
    Exactly, "will" be affected, not is being affected.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.8k
    Exactly, "will" be affected, not is being affected.Emind

    This is morally relevant. If I launch a rocket launcher at someone, surely they will be affected. I believe that would be relevant being that in future time X something probably negative will occur to that person.
  • boethius
    337
    No, that's an absurd suggestion. To make a cumulative case one would need to show that each argument had some probative force, and that would require making each argument. And so the opening post would then have to be thousands of words long.Bartricks

    It's in no way absurd. Plenty of people have written thousands of words to make an argument.

    I also have zero problem with you not making such a case; you can if you want, but I'm not going to argue against a case you're not even making.

    So an objection arose, that consent is not sufficient basis for antinatalism, you concede that this is the case but there are other arguments that together with this insufficient argument win the day.

    You are free to make the next argument in your cumulative series in a new thread and you are free to insist on making it here, but in the latter case I do not continue; I like threads to stay somewhat on topic, that I am committing to a position relative the OP and not indefinitely committing to any alternative of "cumulative" argument apart from the OP (unless of course the OP presents some cumulative project). There's already a thread on the consequentialist argument for antinatalism, and if you don't want to continue that thread for some reason then you can make a new one on your next argument.

    My suggestion of making a thread about your cumulative argument is if you want to discuss that; you now bring it up as representing your actual position, but if you don't see how to summarize it, no problem.

    I don't see how, once you've failed to establish any one of these arguments individually justifies antinatalism you will be able to make some sort of meta-argument that uses the inadequacy of each by itself to form a formidable argumentative force together. Rather, it seems more likely to me that you are simply creating a perpetual goal post moving machine upon which you can ride away from each opponent to new greener pastures, confident that winning this race away from the previous field is the true strength and metric of victory. However, I am patient and am willing to wait to see if your project succeeds in ever getting to "this cumulative argument justifies antinatalism".

    Here I'm concerned with your claims in the OP, and we agree your claims about consent are not sufficient to justify antinatalism. If you want to believe there exists a cumulative case that is too absurdly long to write for any critical investigation of it to happen ... but is nevertheless true, then I have no problem with you believing that.

    As for your book analogy, though I agree many intellectual hacks go about writing books in the way you propose, there is, however, another approach to writing philosophical texts which is to assume the case is not one way or another until critical review of all the arguments are carried out to a sufficient standard. You seem to think that because you can imagine writing a book justifying your position that your position is justifiable; however, no such book maybe feasible to create, but rather key arguments (or even all the arguments) may have fatal and insurmountable flaws.

    Your position now seems to be "I have no argument to justify antintalism to offer, but I am totally right about my antinatalism position and once I make such an argument over a long, potentially infinite period of time, the justification will have proof".

    The alternative point of view is to see things as not justified until the sufficient proof in question actually exists.

    This is correct. It is amazing that many people dont understand this concept that you dont have to exist prior to a certain point to be harmed ONCE you are actually brought into the world.schopenhauer1

    Myself, and most of the earlier posters, have no problem with actions now affecting future children. This is even the basis of one of the main criticism of the OP; that there are plenty of actions other than conception and birth that affect not only future children but children in the here and now, a significant portion of such actions for which we are not bothered by a lack of consent (for instance, the functioning of government too affects future children without their consent).

    However, if by "amazed that many people dont understand this concept" what you really mean is that you are just haphazardly throwing shade in random directions without any definition of what constitutes 'many' and what might justify amazement without any methodology to speak of, then I concede the point; it is amazing, as is a great many things.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    I guess Im not necessarily ready to forego the "prior existence" condition.

    On the following basis:

    It seems to me that there needs to be a certain sort of temporal symmetry when you affect someone.
    The two agents need to exist simultaneously, in the same temporal reality before we can talk about any party affecting the other one.
    Emind

    They do exist simultaneously. The act of procreation is the act of bringing into being a person - so the person exists at the same time as the act does. The person does not exist prior to the act, but they do exist concurrently with it. And note that is all the existence condition requires. It is the 'prior existence condition' that requires prior existence - yet that condition simply seems false. For what would evidence of its truth look like? Well, the evidence would be that acts of procreation do not seem to affect those they bring into being. Yet acts of procreation clearly do seem to affect those they bring into being, for Trudy harms the baby by creating it (else why is her act so wrong?), and to be harmed is to be being affected.

    So, there's positive evidence that the prior existence condition is false.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    It's in no way absurd. Plenty of people have written thousands of words to make an argument.boethius

    I like the way you don't actually address the point I was making. There's nothing wrong with using thousands of words to make a case. But there is something wrong - or at least unwise - in making one's OP thousands of words long.

    And again, my other point was that you have not done anything to challenge my Kantian case. All you've done is point to different cases - cases that do not share relevant features with cases of procreation - and point out that in those cases it is overall justified to do something to someone else without their prior consent (something I have never disputed).

    You also do not seem to understand how cumulative cases work. Now, I think the Kantian case is strong just by itself. And the same for the other cases. But let's imagine that each one is relatively weak by itself - that is, let's say that, taken individually, they only create a 1 in 6 epistemic probability that the act of procreation is wrong. Does that mean that the cumulative case - that is, the combination of all of those three cases - creates a 1 in 6 epistemic probability that the act of procreation is wrong?

    No, obviously not. I mean, take a dice. If you roll it you have a 1/6 chance of getting a six. But what's your chance of getting a six if you have three attempts?
  • boethius
    337
    There's nothing wrong with using thousands of words to make a case. But there is something wrong - or at least unwise - in making one's OP thousands of words long.Bartricks

    I think you're overestimating how big "thousands of words are"; it seems fairly common on the forum to see posts thousands of words long, unless by thousands you mean closer to a hundred thousand than a thousand.

    Be that as it may, I was not recommending you write the entirety of this "cumulative argument", but if you wanted to discuss it, to write it's outline and reference or sketch these sub-arguments that would compose it and what conclusions you believe those sub arguments have. In other words, to proceed with "if all these other arguments conclude favourably for me, then by this cumulative argument I conclude with antinatalism".

    For instance, some posters may believe that the structure of such as argument is unsound, and so regardless of the premises being true or not (perhaps all the sub-arguments really do conclude favourably for you) the conclusion does not follow from it's premises.

    Likewise, some may discuss one weak link in the chain or then argue other links would not be necessary for you scheme to work (leading you either to perhaps focus on the most critical aspects or then to alleviate the work of defending other sub arguments if you become convinced they aren't necessary).

    For instance, now you are saying that this consent argument in itself justifies antinatalism, so, through this discussion of your cumulative project, I have already relieved you of the burden of needing to write a whole book to defend your position.

    I like the way you don't actually address the point I was making.Bartricks

    I did answer the point, insofar as what's relevant to your OP.

    We agreed this consent issue is insufficient to justify antinatalism.

    Now that you've changed your position I'll restate again my criticism.

    It's going to be the same as before, and I'm not sure when I'll have time to re-make the same points. Here, I'd just like to quickly note my method of debate.

    When I encounter a position, I am not at first concerned with proving if the position is true or false, but rather I am concerned at first of exploring if the arguments proposed to defend the position are fairly applied elsewhere. For, if the principles put forth are not coherently applied to all of life, then it is a pick and choose philosophy (simply starting with various conclusions and picking and choosing what arguments seem best to justify them given the situation); if this is the case, it is useful to debate the issue further but rather to switch to whether this pick-and-choose approach to philosophy is justifiable (if the person simply defends the method) or then to debate whether it proposed in good faith and not some sort of propaganda to serve ulterior and unsaid motives.

    I am so far not satisfied that you fairly apply your principle of consent to all ethical issues where it would seem relevant to do so. So far you simply state "sometimes you do, sometimes you don't", which for me is simply describing how you apply your principle, not introducing a new principle upon which you decide when consent matters and when it doesn't. You say, "well, consent doesn't matter if it prevents harm", but you have not dealt with the argument that letting the unconscious patient die is what prevents harm (as life is suffering and it is better not to exist) nor with the argument that birthing new children prevents harm by enabling society to run and the elderly not to all die in horrific conditions as society disintegrates. Likewise, you have not, in my view, responded to governments likewise not caring about the consent of future children; again, you position seems to be simply "of course we need government". As I said, antinatalism is a radical position and I am not satisfied it would not, if directly and honestly applied, lead to other radical conclusions. You can propose a scheme to avoid these radical conclusions or then you could embrace these radical conclusions: that yes, governments aren't justifiable, yes surgeons should let unconscious patients die if they don't have explicit consent from them before hand. You can also say "well, I find these criticism satisfactorily dealt with and I'm moving forward to the next step" in which case perhaps I'd continue on the basis of "assuming so, which I disagree is so, but assuming it, my critique of the next steps is such and such".

    Yes, I have not yet presented an argument that your conclusion is false. I am at this stage trying to discover your premises, which do not seem adequate to me to lead to your conclusion. If such premises emerge, I may have issue with the soundness of the argument, issue with the premises, or be completely satisfied and accept your conclusion. At the moment, it is not at all clear to me how you intend you argument to work, other than allowing you to simply jump to your conclusion.
  • Bartricks
    2k
    We agreed this consent issue is insufficient to justify antinatalism.boethius

    er, where? No, the fact procreative acts are ones that those who are created by then have not consented to is a fact that makes them 'prima facie' wrong - 'default' wrong. That is, they will be wrong unless there is some other feature they possess that either annuls or overcomes the wrong-making power of the feature I have identified. So, arguing that the Kantian feature is prima-facie wrong making is consistent with believing it is sufficient to make acts that have it wrong overall.

    Now that you've changed your position I'll restate again my criticism.boethius

    Er, what!? I have not changed my position one iota!! I mean, where have I changed my position? I think the problem here is that you don't understand my position or you're wilfully misinterpreting it.

    The Kantian case is, I suspect, sufficient by itself to show that antinatalism is true. But by itself it would leave open a very reasonable doubt about the matter. Just as, by analogy, one witness statement saying that Boethius robbed the bank provides us with good reason to think you did it, while leaving open a very reasonable doubt about it. By contrast, three or four witness statements saying you did dit would make it far more reasonable than not to believe you did it. The Kantian case is equivalent to one witness statement.

    I am so far not satisfied that you fairly apply your principle of consent to all ethical issues where it would seem relevant to do so.boethius

    You have no evidence to support that - it's just wishful thinking on your part. Again, you need to provide real evidence that this is the case, not simply point to the brute possibility. Pointing to cases that seem relevantly dissimilar to acts of procreation - cases, for instance, where doing something to someone without their consent was necessary to prevent them from coming to a great harm - and pointing out that such acts often seem justified is not such evidence, for reasons I explained.

    But because I'm a patient kind of a guy, I'll explain again. If a kind of act - such as an act that significantly affects another without their previously having consented to it - is prima facie wrong, then one is consistent if one default assumes those acts that are of this kind are wrong until or unless one has some reason to think that, in a particular case, the act possesses some other feature or features that either annul or overcome the wrongness inherent in such deeds.

    You haven't done this. All you've done is point out that sometimes acts of this kind are not wrong. Again - I know. I know, I know, I know. But the acts of that kind that are not wrong have features that are either overcoming or annulling the wrongness otherwise inherent in them. And - importantly - those features are not present in most procreative acts.



    You say, "well, consent doesn't matter if it prevents harm", bboethius

    Totally dishonest. That's not a quote from me! Those are your words, not mine! I am not an absolutist and I don't believe there are any hard and fast moral rules. I've thought that for years and years so I would nowhere here say that consent doesn't matter if it prevents harm, rather I'd say the more nuanced "consent sometimes does not matter, and sometimes does matter but is eclipsed by other considerations that - in the given context - are mattering more".

    You seem to have difficulties with subtleties like this. If I say that in some contexts the fact an act will prevent some great harm eclipses the importance of getting a person's consent, then you take that to mean that if an act will prevent some harm then consent doesn't matter, or will always be eclipsed by the significance of the harm it prevents (that is, that preventing harm is lexically more important than respecting consent). I do not believe such things.

    It will be inconvenient for your objections, but my view is that lack of consent is a prima-facie wrong-making feature. That does not mean it is always a wrong-making feature. Sometimes it doesn't matter. And sometimes it matters but other things matter more. Note the 'sometimes'.

    The point, however, is that it 'default' matters and so if an act is an act of such a kind, then it is reasonable to suppose it is wrong until or unless we have evidence that some other feature also present is either annulling the prima facie wrongness of the lack of consent involved, or eclipsing it.
  • boethius
    337
    er, where? No, the fact procreative acts are ones that those who are created by then have not consented to is a fact that makes them 'prima facie' wrong - 'default' wrong. That is, they will be wrong unless there is some other feature they possess that either annuls or overcomes the wrong-making power of the feature I have identified.Bartricks

    Yes, I understand your argument structure, what I am pointing to is a lack of principles to decide what "other feature they possess" are and on what basis do these features override your "prima facie / default" wrong.

    As far as I can see, you have not presented a coherent and sound argument. You have responded to weaknesses in your first principle by postulating that other principles could exist to solve the problem of the initial criticism. I am asking what these other principles actually are.

    If I say "it's fine to murder people unless there is some reason not too" this is not meaningful theory. If there are good reasons that cover all potential murdering motivations and scenarios, this would not be incompatible with the previous statement. Likewise, "a surgeon should not do surgery without consent ... unless there's some reason to do the surgery" is not a meaningful theory for the same reason.

    You seem to have difficulties with subtleties like this. If I say that in some contexts the fact an act will prevent some great harm eclipses the importance of getting a person's consent, then you take that to mean that if an act will prevent some harm then consent doesn't matter, or will always be eclipsed by the significance of the harm it prevents (that is, that preventing harm is lexically more important than respecting consent). I do not believe such things.Bartricks

    Well, you obviously believe it in the case of having babies that all these principles play out to conclude babies shouldn't be had. As noted above, what you haven't done is present on what basis you do this evaluation.

    You seem to think that I am attributing things to your position and so are justified in getting defensive and explaining what that you don't believe this or that. I am not attributing things to your position, I am presenting situation and attempting to apply the principles you have presented.

    If you're reply was "yes, the surgeon should let the unconscious patient die because they have returned to the pre-conscious state of a yet-to-be-born child and it is better that they die than potentially live without consent" and likewise if you replied "yes, the government is not justifiable because it does all sorts of things that significantly affects people who don't consent to the social contract, not to mention yet-to-be-born future children, without their consent, among other things promoting and enabling this whole giving birth enterprise humanity has" I would accept that you are applying your consent principle consistently and I'd move on to the next issue.

    However, you invoke new principles to justify surgery without consent and government without consent. I an inquiring as to what these principles are and why I am unable to apply them to justifying having birth. If there's greater benefit to people who know the unconscious patient that the surgeon save the patient and this outweighs the harm in ignoring consent, or then we can simply presume consent without having consent, why can we not simply apply such a principle, in either case, to having children (that the good a child brings to the community outweighs the harm of ignoring consent). Likewise, if the government is justified in ignoring consent for the good of the community, doing things like promoting and subsidizing births to have a workforce to not break pension schemes and the like, then why isn't the would be parent justified in conceiving and having a child for the good of the community? Moreover, is the government invokes "the good of the community" to justify it's child subsidizing schemes (from maternity leave to free schooling) why is it wrong to do so in the case of child births but completely fine in things like police and roads?

    You have answered none of these questions, you have simply made reference to the potential to answer them. Maybe you can, maybe you can't. It's only in actually answering them that they will be actually answered. You seem to miss subtleties like this.

    It will be inconvenient for your objections, but my view is that lack of consent is a prima-facie wrong-making feature. That does not mean it is always a wrong-making feature. Sometimes it doesn't matter. And sometimes it matters but other things matter more. Note the 'sometimes'.Bartricks

    Yes, I have noted a few times that your principle for ignoring consent seems to be summed up in "sometimes". This is not an argument that justifies ignoring consent, it just describes what you are in fact doing which is "sometimes ignoring and sometimes not".

    The point, however, is that it 'default' matters and so if an act is an act of such a kind, then it is reasonable to suppose it is wrong until or unless we have evidence that some other feature also present is either annulling the prima facie wrongness of the lack of consent involved, or eclipsing it.Bartricks

    Yes, as I have noted other situations where you claim there's this "eclipsing feature", but you have not explained why it is an eclipsing feature and how it is employed to do the eclipsing.
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