• TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    There is a charity organization in the US called Project Prevention which pays drug addicts $300 to use long term contraception which often includes sterilization. The organization is usually supported by relatively conservative individuals who feel that voluntary eugenics is an effective and ethically acceptable means to improve our society. Sterilizing drug addicts can reduce absolute poverty and tax burdens in our society. As well as suffering for opioid addicted infants and abuse by the foster care system. It can also reduce abortions and many supporters of this organization are against abortion and wish to prevent pregnancies of drug addicts to prevent abortions. Given that Antinatalists often feel that even ordinary lives are bad, I would imagine that a charity like Project Prevention would also be attractive to them. I suppose that there might be a minority of very Kantian Antinatalists who might not even think that donating to this organization is good but for the majority it seems that it would be viewed as an extra or supererogatory good. But, what about cases where an individual procreates but also donates money to Project Prevention? Consider the following 2 cases:

    1. Bob thinks that life is bad and procreation is prima facie immoral. Because of this, he avoids procreating and donates his spare money to Project Prevention. But, he has very wealthy parents and they want grandchildren. Those parents would only allow him to have their inheritance if he procreates. Bob knows that receiving the inheritance money would allow him to get far more drug addicts sterilized. So, he decides to have just 1 child to receive the inheritance money and he gives his only child a privileged lifestyle while still ensuring that he can donate very large sums of money to Project Prevention.

    2. Mary also thinks that life is bad and procreation is prima facie immoral. But, she really wants to have children. She reasons that as long as she donates enough money to Project Prevention that prevents more people from being born than the people that she creates, it is ok for her to have children.

    For the antinatalists in the forum, do you think that the actions of Bob are justified? What about the actions of Mary? For all the non-antinatalists, do you consider donating to Project Prevention as a good action, a neutral action, or a bad action?
  • Brett
    2.3k


    I’m a non-antinatalist. I’ve never heard of this before but it’s very interesting. Is donating a good thing? I think it’s worth the effort to see what the outcome is. It’s also, to me, interesting that it’s supported by relatively conservative supporters. It seems a more pragmatic approach to things which I generally associate with conservative thinkers.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    For the antinatalists in the forum, do you think that the actions of Bob are justified?TheHedoMinimalist

    No. Bob procreated in order to use the child to bribe his parent not to disinherit him. No end justifies using the child as the means.

    What about the actions of Mary?

    I don't see anything wrong with her following that strong, biopsychological programming. And then encouraging others for whom it's not so strong not to procreate.

    For all the non-antinatalists, do you consider donating to Project Prevention as a good action, a neutral action, or a bad action?

    Not good. Even as an antinatalist I can see that targeting addicts clearly exploits their joneses and is wrong. If the choice not to procreate is coerced in any way, then it's not freely chosen and thereby inflicts harm on the "already born". The end doesn't justify the means especially where 'prevention of inevitable harm' is an end brought about by doing harm in the first place.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    No. Bob procreated in order to use the child to bribe his parent not disinherit him. No end doesn't justifies using the child as the means.180 Proof

    Agreed.

    Most antinatalists are not straight-up (and to me insane) "Greatest Good" utilitarians. There is a deontological (Kantian) element of not using people. In fact, there is strong sense in the antinatalist logic that people should not be used for any X reason (society's, the parents, etc.). Morals are at margins- where people actually effect other individuals (or prevent effecting/affecting them in the case of antinatalism).

    2. Mary also thinks that life is bad and procreation is prima facie immoral. But, she really wants to have children. She reasons that as long as she donates enough money to Project Prevention that prevents more people from being born than the people that she creates, it is ok for her to have children.TheHedoMinimalist

    They are still affecting a future person's life. That individual should not be used for some greater agenda (or in this case simply the parent's agenda).

    For the antinatalists in the forum, do you think that the actions of Bob are justified? What about the actions of Mary? For all the non-antinatalists, do you consider donating to Project Prevention as a good action, a neutral action, or a bad action?TheHedoMinimalist

    I think selective antinatalism is simply eugenics. While, I agree that situational anti-procreation is justified (debilitated drug addicts shouldn't have kids), antinatalism as I see it is mainly about not causing harm or aggression towards a future person. In other words, you can perfectly respect the autonomy of the individual by not enabling conditions of harm for a future person, and by not "forcing their hand" and violating non-aggression by affecting an individual by bringing them into the world in the first place.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    Not good. Even as an antinatalist I can see that targeting addicts clearly exploits their joneses and is wrong. If the choice not to procreate is coerced in any way, then it's not freely chosen and thereby inflicts harm on the "already born". The end doesn't justify the means especially where 'prevention of inevitable harm' is an end brought about by doing harm in the first place.180 Proof

    This is a common criticism that Project Prevention receives. Their counter-argument to this criticism is to point out that if you think that drugs addicts are unable to make clear-headed decisions to get paid to get sterilized then why would you think that they can make a clear headed decision to procreate. It seems that the vast majority of drug addicts have children on accident and then those children get taken away from them and they end up in a terrible foster home while suffering from opioid withdrawal. It also costs the taxpayer $500,000 to treat one infant with opioid withdrawal plus the costs of foster care.

    No. Bob procreated in order to use the child to bribe his parent not disinherit him. No end doesn't justifies using the child as the means.180 Proof

    I’m surprised that you support the actions of Mary but not the actions Bob. Though, can you make a stronger argument for why the ends do not justify the means for those who are not convinced of this principle?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    I think selective antinatalism is simply eugenics. While, I agree that situational anti-procreation is justified (debilitated drug addicts shouldn't have kids), antinatalism as I see it is mainly about not causing harm or aggression towards a future person. In other words, you can perfectly respect the autonomy of the individual by not enabling conditions of harm for a future person, and by not "forcing their hand" and violating non-aggression by affecting an individual by bringing them into the world in the first place.schopenhauer1

    But, why do you think that there’s a greater reason to not cause harm rather than alleviate the harm of others? I’m curious because many people including myself do not find these claims to be obvious and feel that there needs to be a stronger defense of these claims. I’m also willing to provide a stronger defense of the actions of Bob and Mary. Mathematically speaking, it’s intuitive to suppose that if someone prevents 5 lives from existing and causes only 1 to exist, then they made a better impact on the world than a “passive” antinatalist who simply doesn’t reproduce. The existence of the “passive” antinatalist probably made an overall bad impact on the world. This is because even if the passive antinatalist tries his best to avoid harming sentient beings, he probably has done at least some harm to the world. He probably ate meat before becoming a vegan for example. This led to the birth of possibly thousands of animals(especially if he liked chicken). It would be hard to justify that harm with any good deed except if he donates money to prevent another person from being born or if he donates to cultured meat research. The notion of atonement of sin is also quite popular and intuitive in our society. It’s refreshing to know that if you had done awful things in the past, then there’s something you can do to make up for that. “Active” antinatalists like Bob and Mary have not only atoned for their sins but also greatly benefited the world in addition to that. In the case of Bob, even though he used his child as a means to an end, why not view this as a good thing that Bob’s child should be proud of? After all, if my existence helped prevent countless of suffering children from being born, I would be proud to be the tool that let that happen. What I’m not proud of is the fact that my existence was probably an accident in the bedroom and there was no deliberation about bringing me into existence at all. I think that’s a much more humiliating circumstance to be born under and it applies to slightly more than 50 percent of all people born.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    For the antinatalists in the forum, do you think that the actions of Bob are justified?
    — TheHedoMinimalist

    No. Bob procreated in order to use the child to bribe his parent not disinherit him. No end doesn't justifies using the child as the means.

    What about the actions of Mary?

    I don't see anything wrong with her following that strong, biopsychological programming. And then encouraging others for whom it's not so strong not to procreate.
    180 Proof

    This may be what @schopenhauer1 was getting at, but isn't Mary in an ends justifying means situation as well?

    For Bob, having a child is the means to the end of his satisfied desire for money (or maintaining his lifestyle, or funding anti-natal propaganda, or whatever that money represents).

    For Mary, having a child is the means to the end of her satisfied desire for a child.

    Am I wrong in thinking that both would be driven by biopsychological programming... (wouldn't biopsychological include EVERYTHING that goes into our decision making process?)? If men don't have the strong push to have a child (or as strong as suggested for women), then whatever "weaker" biopsychological programming they have will take priority.

    And in case my philosophical position matters...I don't believe that the ends always justify the means. However, I certainly consider it to be possible for the ends to justify the means (In Bob's case it would be a matter of how the child is treated).
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    For the antinatalists in the forum, do you think that the actions of Bob are justified? What about the actions of Mary? For all the non-antinatalists, do you consider donating to Project Prevention as a good action, a neutral action, or a bad action?TheHedoMinimalist

    I think I am in between, personally, I plan to have NO children. But I do not feel an urge to convince others. And intellectually, I can see merits to both sides of the argument.

    I think Bob is fine as long as the child is well taken care of.

    Mary is going to have some serious cognitive dissonance. What else has she labelled as unquestionably immoral that she still wants to do? But other than her internal contradictions, I don't have a problem with the actions.

    I would think donating to this project is equal to many of the other "projects" that people donate to. If someone believes fewer births is a good thing, then this seems a worthy use of funds. I think your point here:

    Their counter-argument to this criticism is to point out that if you think that drugs addicts are unable to make clear-headed decisions to get paid to get sterilized then why would you think that they can make a clear headed decision to procreate.TheHedoMinimalist

    Is enough justification that this donation is not harmful. It is just a person using money to push their opinions on the world. Personally I prefer The Philosophy Forum and the occasional face-to-face interaction to push my opinions...but they are equally justified to spread their opinions in whatever way they see fit (should be persuasive not coercive - notice that bribery seems to fall somewhere in between?).

    Mathematically speaking, it’s intuitive to suppose that if someone prevents 5 lives from existing and causes only 1 to exist, then they made a better impact on the world than a “passive” antinatalist who simply doesn’t reproduce.TheHedoMinimalist

    I am not sure we can always simplify moral decisions with math...but I have to run and have not thoroughly reviewed your last two posts...so don't take that criticism seriously until I have time to read everything :smile:
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    I think I am in between, personally, I plan to have NO children. But I do not feel an urge to convince others. And intellectually, I can see merits to both sides of the argument.ZhouBoTong

    Fair enough, I think it’s reasonable to argue that one doesn’t really have a duty to promote what they believe to be good and sometimes it’s better to have a high degree of confidence that what you think is good is actually good before you act on what you think is good. Some people are too quick to act on their beliefs without properly reflecting on them first. On the other hand, it might be argued that the point of moral reflection is to eventually help make the world a better place. If preventing people from being born is considered by someone to be the best way to make the world a better place, then it would seem appropriate for one to make donating to PP their top priority.

    Mary is going to have some serious cognitive dissonance. What else has she labelled as unquestionably immoral that she still wants to do? But other than her internal contradictions, I don't have a problem with the actions.ZhouBoTong

    Well, I actually wrote that Mary thought that having children was only prima facie immoral which means it only appeared unquestionably immoral to her at first before further philosophical examination. After philosophical examination, Mary realized that it’s only immoral if she creates more lives than she prevents. So, it seems that there wouldn’t be an internal contradiction. Though, I suppose that some moral psychologists might argue that humans generally cannot view their actions in such calculating mathematical terms and thus the utilitarians might feel guilty and ashamed about some of the things that they had done in their “ends justify the means” approach to morality. Though, this would apply to Bob as much as it does for Mary.

    I am not sure we can always simplify moral decisions with math...but I have to run and have not thoroughly reviewed your last two posts...so don't take that criticism seriously until I have time to read everything :smile:ZhouBoTong

    Fair enough, this is something that most people agree with you on. I would have to go into a pretty deep explanation myself to explain why I tend to view all normative decision making in quasi-mathematical terms whether it is moral or everyday prudential decision making or an interesting cross between the two which aims at deciding if you should benefit yourself or others. I tend to think of morality as the element of decision making theory which explores the benefits and harms that a decision option has for someone other than yourself. Prudentiality is an element that explores the benefits and harms for yourself. Sometimes there might also be conflicts between prudentiality and morality and this is a different element of decision making which I have not named yet. It is the element that is explored in the debate between ethical egoists and altruists and all the positions in between. I tend to exclude using Deontic language(ie words such as “permissible”, “prohibited”, and “obligatory”) when talking about decision making theory because I view decision making as being purely evaluative and never Deontic in nature. Evaluation is a quasi-mathematical activity which relies on the creation of a hierarchy of things which are on a spectrum of better and worse. For example, if I’m evaluating a group of songs, I’m putting them into quasi-mathematical categories such as “great songs”, “good songs”, “decent songs”, “bad songs” and “terrible songs”. Similarly, letter grades given at school are quasi-mathematical evaluative categories designed to create a hierarchy of betterness and worseness. Of course, there is often ambiguity in the hierarchy if 2 things fall within the same quasi-mathematical categories. For example, if I put both Song A and Song B in the category of “decent songs” then it might be hard for me to say which song is better. Decision options seem to work the same way. There are better and worse ways that I could spend my next hour. This involves all the possible actions or decision options that I could take during the hour. Of course, we would have to decide what evaluative criteria we should use to determine which of the possible ways of spending my next hour are superior and inferior. This would get us into the discussion of what types of things are intrinsically good or good in a final sense by which they can be used as appropriate quasi-mathematical points for the evaluation of decision option outcomes. This is a complicated topic which I will refrain from addressing to avoid making this post wayy too long.
  • khaled
    1.3k
    Given that Antinatalists often feel that even ordinary lives are bad,TheHedoMinimalist

    AHHHHHHHHHH. Well you're not wrong but that's not all of us.
    She reasons that as long as she donates enough money to Project Prevention that prevents more people from being born than the people that she creates, it is ok for her to have children.TheHedoMinimalist

    Thats called "license to sin" in psychology and it makes no sense. She could've donated the same amount if not more if she didn't have a child

    I think Bob's case is moral though
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    Thats called "license to sin" in psychology and it makes no sense. She could've donated the same amount if not more if she didn't have a child

    I think Bob's case is moral though
    khaled

    Fair enough, though “license to sin” utilitarianism could be thought of as a more egoistic version of “agent neutral” utilitarianism but not completely egoistic one. Bob could be described as an agent neutral utilitarian since he believes that he should strive to minimize suffering in the world as much as possible. This can be starkly contrasted with a purely egoistic form of utilitarianism which is usually called something like Prudential Hedonism or Egoistic Hedonism. These views were mostly popularized by the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus who was mostly concerned with only minimizing suffering in his own life. Epicurus was a major influence on Jeremy Bentham who was the father of agent neutral Utilitarianism. Bentham agreed on the focus on pleasure and suffering that Epicurus had but decided that we should not prioritize our own interests above anyone else’s interests. This led to the radical conclusion that we have no reason to prioritize the interests of our loved ones or ourselves above the interests of a stranger. Mary’s “license to sin” utilitarianism could be though of as a compromise between Agent Neutral Utilitarianism and Prudential Hedonism. It argues that one only has a duty to have their existence produce a positive impact on the world overall. Mary doesn’t think that she has a duty to prevent as many people from being born as possible(unlike Bob). She thinks that it’s rational for her to only benefit herself and avoid harming herself as long as she does more good than bad for the world. Her only moral requirement is to atone for the harms that she causes to the world. Of course, there are many people that would find such a view repugnant. I’m personally unconvinced by this view and I’m also unconvinced by Agent Neutral Utilitarianism but I support the actions of both Bob and Mary. My view is yet another version of Hedonism/Utilitarianism and it’s probably repugnant to many people as well. I consider minimizing suffering in my own life to be my primary goal. Maximizing my own pleasure is my secondary goal. Minimizing the suffering of others and maximizing my own life satisfaction are my tertiary goals. So, I would usually prioritize my higher order goals over my minor goals but if I can make a bigger impact on my tertiary goals than on my primary goal with a particular action then I would think that it’s rational for me to prioritize the tertiary goal over a primary goal. So, it’s kinda like a complicated version of hedonism/utilitarianism and there are many different and interesting versions of hedonist and utilitarian ethics that one could devise.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    This is a common criticism that Project Prevention receives. Their counter-argument to this criticism is to point out that if you think that drugs addicts are unable to make clear-headed decisions to get paid to get sterilized then why would you think that they can make a clear headed decision to procreate.TheHedoMinimalist

    Not much of a counter because it misses the broader social point, namely that no politician or bureaucrat or committee is "clear-headed" enough to decide upon and implement sterilization policies of a marginalized demographic or community especially if they don't also belong to that targetted group. Plenty of recent historical evidence bears this out.

    So-called "clear-headed" arguments like these are like arguments for adversely classifying members of out-groups worthy of being coerced or deprived of XYZ on the basis of "illiteracy"-based or "low IQ score"-based or "psychiatric history"-based or "non/religious affiliation"-based rationalizations which insinuate, if not explicitly, questions of fitness for XYZ. Fascist dung! :shade:

    It seems that the vast majority of drug addicts have children on accident ... — TheHedoMinimalist

    And the vast majority of homo insapiens (& hominin cousins) for the last 2.5 million years too and currently still do. So?

    ... and then those children get taken away from them and they end up in a terrible foster home while suffering from opioid withdrawal. It also costs the taxpayer $500,000 to treat one infant with opioid withdrawal plus the costs of foster care. — TheHedoMinimalist

    Well, you're right, something must be done; what's proffered here, however, causes as many or more problems than it solves.

    I’m surprised that you support the actions of Mary but not the actions Bob. — TheHedoMinimalist

    I'm surprised you're surprised. Bob's a grifter exploiting a child. Mary's satisfying a species need to procreate as well as a personal desire to parent children.

    Though, can you make a stronger argument for why the ends do not justify the means for those who are not convinced of this principle? — TheHedoMinimalist

    I don't accept "ends justify means" arguments in ethics. Means and ends must be adjusted to one another so that the latter is not undermined or invalidated by the former while the former is calibrated to enact the latter. A version of reflective equilibrium.

    Mathematically speaking, it’s intuitive to suppose that if someone prevents 5 lives from existing and causes only 1 to exist, then they made a better impact on the world than a “passive” antinatalist who simply doesn’t reproduce.TheHedoMinimalist

    Atrocities are what "mathematically speaking" gets you:

    “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”
    ~Uncle Joe of Georgia

    or more familiarly

    "Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men in battle than a dozen at dinner."
    ~Lord Tywin of Casterly Rock

    :yawn:

    ... isn't Mary in an ends justifying means situation as well?ZhouBoTong

    Mary's decision to fulfill a species need to procreate and a personal desire to parent children wagers on her being able to (as much as possible) protect from harm as well as nurture her child(ren) in order to give them the best of odds of living with the least suffering while simultaneously working to support the antinatalist movement. She's not "justifying" her decision to procreate, rather she's trying to precede in a way that doesn't invalidate or undermine either the prospect of parenting or working for the movement.

    Am I wrong in thinking that both would be driven by biopsychological programming ... — ZhouBoTong

    Yeah, that's wrong. Bob doesn't have a species need - biopsych programming - to live any better than his ancestors did during the last great ice age. He's a freeloading, child-exploiting, grifter. Also, he doesn't have a fundamental need to promote antinatalism (or any abstract notion). Maybe some neurological issues there (e.g. sociopathy) ... but not a fundamental drive, shared by almost every other (nonpathological) human being, that would disable or kill him if not satisfied or periodically maintained.

    ... (wouldn't biopsychological include EVERYTHING that goes into our decision making process?) — ZhouBoTong

    Yes, but "EVERYTHING" doesn't equally determine or drive us to decide whether or when or with whom or even how to fulfill our species need - programming, or hormonal drive - to procreate. If more fundamental drives like metabolic, procreative, fight or flight, intentional agency attribution (e.g. theory of mind), etc weren't primary, and social or personal desires secondary, the current human species would very likely be extinct today.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.4k
    By the way, for those interested in a decent summary of David Benatar's Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, please see this video. It gives the main arguments fairly straightforwardly. And no, the reviewer in the video is not me :).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FS5zRTd1nf4
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    After philosophical examination, Mary realized that it’s only immoral if she creates more lives than she prevents.TheHedoMinimalist

    I am not a fan of this type of moralizing. One could define their behavior to be perfectly moral no matter how one behaves. Murder is wrong. Unless the person deserves it.

    This mindset could lead to every negative that @180 Proof mentioned. Only the poor, stupid, and weak are denied children while "I" as a valued citizen can reproduce at will.

    I tend to think of morality as the element of decision making theory which explores the benefits and harms that a decision option has for someone other than yourself.TheHedoMinimalist

    I think this is great...unfortunately most of the world has their morality dictated to them from magical books....but now reading your objection to deontology, maybe you still view those people as choosing their morality?

    Of course, there is often ambiguity in the hierarchy if 2 things fall within the same quasi-mathematical categories.TheHedoMinimalist

    I think this is the problem that would be seen a lot...however, the more complicated the math equation, the more factors it could include (and therefor the less ambiguity it would have).

    This would get us into the discussion of what types of things are intrinsically good or good in a final sense by which they can be used as appropriate quasi-mathematical points for the evaluation of decision option outcomes.TheHedoMinimalist

    While you could find a lot of agreement on these points, it would almost never be unanimous. I do not think this invalidates your ideas, it just suggests a type of limited usefulness (and to be fair nothing has universal usefulness, so that is not necessarily a substantial problem).
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    No much of a counter because it misses the large social point, namely that no politician or bureaucrat or committee is "clear-headed" enough to decide upon and implement sterilization policies of marginalized a demographic or community especially if they don't belong to the targetted group. Plenty of recent historical evidence bears this out.180 Proof

    Well in this case it was just a charity that would encourage people to not have kids. Surely their are many organizations in our society (businesses, religions, charities, schools, etc) that attempt to encourage certain behaviors? Why are they fine, but this is not?

    So-called "clear-headed" arguments like these are like arguments for adversely classifying members of out-groups worthy of being coerced or deprived of XYZ on the basis of "illiteracy"-based or "low IQ score"-based or "psychiatric history"-based or "non/religious affiliation"-based rationalizations which insinuate, if not explicit, question fitness for XYZ. Fascist bs.180 Proof

    Doesn't an awareness of this downside largely prevent it from occurring (assuming people actually want to prevent it)? But I admit, it is a MAJOR problem.

    And the vast majority of homo insapiens (& hominin cousins) for the last 2.5 million years too and currently still do. So?180 Proof

    Does this mean that any attempt to convince people not to have kids is wrong? Can I only attempt to convince intellectual equals or else I am being manipulative? (I think your quote above reminded me of these questions...I am not sure that what I wrote here is actually a direct response to your quote).

    Mary's decision to fulfill a species need to procreate and a personal desire to parent children wagers on her being able to (as much as possible) protect from harm as well as nurture her child(ren) in order to give them the best of odds of the living180 Proof

    We never said Bob was not doing this also. His scenario made him LESS LIKELY to do this, but it was not prohibitive.

    Means and ends must be adjusted to one another so that the latter is not undermined or invalidated by the former while the former is calibrated to enacted the latter.180 Proof

    This is what I was getting at when I said that ends justifying means in Bob's case had to do with how he treated the child.

    She's not "justifying" her decision to procreate, rather she's trying to precede in a way that doesn't invalidate or undermine either the prospect of parenting or working for the movement.180 Proof

    She absolutely undermined the child reduction movement. The phrase practice what you preach comes to mind. No one is going to listen to an antinatalist that talks about how much she loves her child. She will just sound like anyone in history that wants the "lesser" people to not reproduce.

    That's wrong. Bob doesn't have a species need - biopsych programming - to live any better than his ancestors did during the last great ice age.180 Proof

    Is there any scenario where a "species need" gives men a pass on their thoughtful action like it is giving women a pass in this scenario? Notice I can't be sitting in front of the judge for assault, and be like "what? it was fight or flight. my hormones took over." I suppose as a white guy in this country, maybe it would work :grimace: ...but rule of law would rightly send me to jail.

    Also, this thread is on antinatalism...haven't we left the realm of "species need" far behind:razz:?
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Surely their are many organizations in our society (businesses, religions, charities, schools, etc) that attempt to encourage certain behaviors? Why are they fine, but this is not?ZhouBoTong

    As I pointed out (here - last paragraph), its M.O. is to "encourage" by exploitation: bribing addicts with money for their fix if they submit to being (medically) sterilized.

    Doesn't an awareness of this downside largely prevent it from occurring (assuming people actually want to prevent it)?

    :roll:

    She absolutely undermined the child reduction movement. The phrase practice what you preach comes to mind. No one is going to listen to an antinatalist that talks about how much she loves her child.

    Hobgoblin of foolish consistency aside, Mary can support the antinatalist movement in ways other than "spokesperson" or "preacher" ... just as a non-pacifist war veteran can support an Antiwar / Peace movement as many did during (e.g.) the "Vietnam War" ... without dishonoring their military service or undermining the goal.

    Is there any scenario where a "species need" gives men a pass on their thoughtful action like it is giving women a pass in this scenario?

    E.g. (a) cannibalising dead people iff starving ... (b) breaking into an empty house to shelter in place from a hurricane or other extreme weather ...  (c) self-defensive violence or killing, etc

    Even so, I don't give Mary "a pass"; I simply acknpwledge that her apparent inconsistency can still work without undermining either of her objectives. Not perfect, or "ideologically pure", but good enough so long as she juggles the trade-offs conscientiously.

    Notice I can't be sitting in front of the judge for assault, and be like "what? it was fight or flight. my hormones took over."

    Depends on whether or not there was mitigating circumstances ...

    Btw, ever hear of "roid rage" - anabolic steroid (additional testosterone) use that triggers extreme anger or a psychotic break due to an undiagnosed psychiatric disorder?

    I suppose as a white guy in this country, maybe it would work ...

    No doubt.

    ...haven't we left the realm of "species need" far behind :razz: ?

    Antinatalism is contrary to nature from the level of species functioning down to the genome: the sine qua non of (population) survival, after all, is procreation. How can we talk about basic aspects of being human absent consideration of our species needs (i.e. drives, or what Philippa Foot calls 'functional defects')? Certainly not morally.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    No much of a counter because it misses the large social point, namely that no politician or bureaucrat or committee is "clear-headed" enough to decide upon and implement sterilization policies of marginalized a demographic or community especially if they don't belong to the targetted group. Plenty of recent historical evidence bears this out.180 Proof

    Well, it seems that we trust politicians and bureaucrats to make all kinds of policies that potentially harm a marginalized demographic. For example, we lock pedophiles up for child molestation. Pedophiles are a marginalized demographic. We are willing to use direct force as punishment for their actions. Wouldn’t it be better to pay pedophiles to get castrated before they commit a crime instead? Similarly, we lock up drug addicts for mistreating or neglecting their children. Are we not just protecting them from legal consequences by paying them to get sterilized? Also, you mentioned that there is historical evidence that sterilization didn’t work or had negative consequences. Would you mind showing me some links to that historical evidence? In addition, does this evidence only apply to legally mandated sterilization or does it also apply to paying a willing drug addict? PP has already got over 3,000 drug addicts sterilized and there haven’t been any negative consequences yet it seems.

    And the vast majority of homo insapiens (& hominin cousins) for the last 2.5 million years too and currently still do. So?180 Proof

    There are 3 important differences here:

    1. Drug addicts are more likely to have their procreation be accidental and thus it is really rare for them to intentionally reproduce.

    2. Drug addicts do not adequately take care of their accidental offsprings

    3. Drug addicts are known to have litters of offsprings. I think if someone reproduces 4 times and abandons every one of their offspring then this is an act that is more harmful than murder and child molestation. Given this, it is justified to lock them up in prison for a long time. If it justified to lock them up in prison then it justified to pay them not to reproduce.

    I don't accept "ends justify means" arguments in ethics. Means and ends must be adjusted to one another so that the latter is not undermined or invalidated by the former while the former is calibrated to enacted the latter. A version of reflective equilibrium.180 Proof

    So, would you say that arresting criminals is justified? It seems to me that throwing people in prison is never a good means to prevent harm but it’s justified given the positive ends.

    Atrocities are what "mathematically speaking" gets you:

    “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.”
    ~Uncle Joe of Georgia

    or more familiarly

    "Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men in battle than a dozen at dinner."
    ~Lord Tywin of Casterly Rock
    180 Proof

    Well, we are already dealing with an atrocity. Is it not an atrocity that we have suffering children created by drug addicts? If you consider individuals like Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin to be mathematical utilitarians then there’s much to be criticized. I would challenge their value theory and their speculation that their starvation plans would eventually pay off. Just because there are bad mathematics utilitarians doesn’t mean that there are no good mathematical utilitarians. Bad mathematical utilitarians sometimes commit atrocities but non-utilitarians are good at preventing us from preventing and alleviating atrocities. Non-utilitarians are the reason why we spend $700,000 a year on a comatose patient rather than spending that money to alleviate the suffering of hundreds of sentient creatures. Non-utilitarians are good at making themselves look innocent though while pointing the finger at the mathematical utilitarians and blaming them for every atrocity.

    Well, you're right, something must be done; what's proffered here, however, causes as many or more problems than it solves.180 Proof

    What are the problems that are caused? What’s the worst that could happen if PP becomes a hundred times more popular and sterilizes 300,000 drug addicts instead of 3,000 drug addicts? It seems to me that you are mostly concerned with legally mandated sterilization of drug addicts. So, why would the consequences of PP paying drug addicts to get sterilized be bad in any way? Are you afraid of some kind of a slippery slope that eventually leads to mandated sterilization?

    Mary's decision to fulfill a species need to procreate and a personal desire to parent children wagers on her being able to (as much as possible) protect from harm as well as nurture her child(ren) in order to give them the best of odds of the living with the least suffering while simultaneously working to support the antinatalist movement. She's not "justifying" her decision to procreate, rather she's trying to precede in a way that doesn't invalidate or undermine either the prospect of parenting or working for the movement.180 Proof

    I know this comment wasn’t intended for me but it’s related to our discussion. Mary could fulfill her desire to parent children by adopting them instead of reproducing. Given this, why is it not wrong for her to procreate given that she could fulfill her parenting needs by adopting a child. If she also wants to fulfill her reproductive needs then she should not use her child as a means to an end to do so(unless you agree with me that the ends of her preventing people from being born gives her a license to sin.)

    That's wrong. Bob doesn't have a species need - biopsych programming - to live any better than his ancestors did during the last great ice age. He's a freeloading, child-exploiting grifter. Also, he doesn't have a fundamental need to promote antinalism (or any abstrat notion). Maybe some neurological issues there (e.g. sociopathy) ... but not a fundamental drive, shared by almost every other (nonpathological) human being, that would disable or kill him if not satisfied or periodically maintained.180 Proof

    So, reproduction is justified if you have a strong biological urge to reproduce? What if a pedophile also has a strong biological urge to molest children? Does this justify his child molestation?

    Yes, but "EVERYTHING" doesn't equally determine or drive us to decide whether or when or with whom or even how to fulfill our species need - programming, or hormonal drive - to procreate. If more fundamental drives like metabolic, procreative, fight or flight, intentional agency attribution (e.g. theory of mind), etc weren't primary, and social or personal desires secondary, the current human species would very likely be extinct today.180 Proof

    I think it’s safe to say that the sexual drive of a pedophile is as “primary” as the need to reproduce for someone who has that desire. Both sexual and procreative desires are considered to be physiological needs under Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model(I’m assuming that this is the model that you prefer.). Both pedophiles and people who wish to procreate are often willing to sacrifice their safety to do so. Thus, there’s no reason to suppose that pedophilia is less programmed into pedophiles as the desire to procreate.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Whenever someone starts defending or drawing false equivalences to pedophilia, I bow out leaving things at let's agree to disagree about the topic at hand. Apparently, THM, you're looking to score points rather than (re)examine (the assumptions of) your OP-position, if only for discussion's sake, in light of my objections to it. I'm not interested in debating points. Maybe other fish will take your bait ...
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    I am not a fan of this type of moralizing. One could define their behavior to be perfectly moral no matter how one behaves. Murder is wrong. Unless the person deserves it.

    This mindset could lead to every negative that 180 Proof mentioned. Only the poor, stupid, and weak are denied children while "I" as a valued citizen can reproduce at will.
    ZhouBoTong

    Well yes, one could define their moral behavior to be perfectly moral no matter how one behaves. But, I don’t see how this an exclusive critique of “License to Sin” Utilitarianism. One could develop a deontological Divine Command Theory in which God allows you to murder certain individuals who you happen to dislike. In addition, one could develop a virtue ethics theory in which murdering bad people is virtuous. Even Kantians do not seem to be completely immune(although, I’ll grant that they are more immune than the other theories.). A “golden rule” Kantian may justify murdering someone by reasoning that they would want to get murdered too if they were as disgusting as the person that they want to murder. Thus, they wouldn’t be violating the golden rule if they murder “disgusting” individuals. My point being is that we can’t single out “license to sin” utilitarians here. I’ll grant that there might be a greater danger involved but this would only be an argument against promoting the theory to others. One could be a “license to sin” utilitarian themselves while being careful about making sure that the benefit does indeed appear to outweigh the harm.

    I think this is great...unfortunately most of the world has their morality dictated to them from magical books....but now reading your objection to deontology, maybe you still view those people as choosing their morality?ZhouBoTong

    Well, it’s actually not clear to me if magical books dictate morality to religious people or if religious people dictate their magical books to their morality. I think it’s a bit of both. On one hand, it’s undeniable that magic books influence some of the moral principles that are held by the societies that adhere to them. Circumcision is a perfect example. I doubt anybody is instinctually drawn to the idea of cutting off the foreskin off of the penis or the hood of a clitoris. Those ideas seem to be influenced by the magic books. On the other hand, there are plenty of beliefs that religious folks have that are not mentioned in their magic books. For example, there’s no explicit prohibition of abortion or suicide in the Bible. Nonetheless, Christians are often strongly opposed to those things while atheists are more likely to be
    pro-choice on these matters. My theory for why this is so is that some people have been biologically selected by evolution to have a strong sentiment towards survival and reproduction. This is often encapsulated into the belief in “The Sanctity of Life”. If one has a strong sentiment towards anything then they are more likely to promote that thing on a sociocultural level. This is why you see so many suicide hotlines and posters of dead fetuses. Though, I actually think that my explanation might be flawed since it’s not clear why abortion is considered more immoral than sterilization or simply choosing not to reproduce. Though, in the past, I think abortion was as controversial as any other form of contraception. All contraception used to be extremely controversial in the past. So, it kinda supports my theory. So, why are people who believe in the sanctity of life more likely to be religious? Well, it’s pretty difficult to defend their views through secular reasoning since it’s not clear why life should be valued for its own sake. The Bible is vague enough that it can be used as an easy defense for this view. Sometimes one might use a metaphysical theory to defend their beliefs about value and ethics that they refuse to abandon. I suspect that the Bible is often used as a convenient way of explaining and justifying one’s already deeply held intuitions about certain values.

    I think this is the problem that would be seen a lot...however, the more complicated the math equation, the more factors it could include (and therefor the less ambiguity it would have).ZhouBoTong

    I actually don’t think that it’s particularly important to resolve the ambiguity in those cases. If 2 decision option are pretty close in goodness then you might as well just flip a coin and not over-analyze the decision. It will save you a lot of needless worry :smile:

    While you could find a lot of agreement on these points, it would almost never be unanimous. I do not think this invalidates your ideas, it just suggests a type of limited usefulness (and to be fair nothing has universal usefulness, so that is not necessarily a substantial problem).ZhouBoTong

    I agree that my decision theory is highly unpersuasive and extremely exclusive. I make a ton of controversial claims and try my best to defend all of them. This marginalizes any audience that I might have. But, my specific ideas are more designed for my own life and deciding what decisions I should make. On this thread, I defended theories that I don’t fully support like Agent Neutral Utilitarianism and “License to Sin” Utilitarianism because they are close relatives to my complicated theory. So, I need not only promote my specific theory.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    Whenever someone starts defending or drawing false equivalences to pedophilia, I bow out leaving things at let's agree to disagree about the topic at hand. Apparently, THM, you're looking to score points rather than (re)examine (the assumptions of) your position, if only for discussion's sake, in light of my objections to it. I'm not interested in debating points. Maybe other fish will take your bait ...180 Proof

    To be fair, I felt that you were making false equivalences of my ideas to the Nazis (you did call certain ideas that I kinda supported as “nazi bs” .) I don’t think that the language that I used was more harsh than the language that you used. I generally match the tone of the person that I’m speaking to on this forum. If someone is trying to be really nice then I’m guaranteed to be really nice back. But, you were making some fiery comments in your response so I felt it was appropriate for me to do the same. I wasn’t trying to score points either. I was honestly trying to have an intellectually honest discussion with you. I’m sorry if it didn’t appear that way to you. My analogy to pedophilia was not meant as an insult to your position or a straw man of it. I’m honestly having a difficulty of understanding why reproduction by a drug addict which is accompanied by abandonment of the child is considered less harmful than child molestation. I’m not even sure if normal reproduction is less harmful than child molestation. A lifetime of suffering could certainly be considered more significant than one single really bad period of suffering like in the case of child molestation. Maybe this view is just too radical for you to consider but it was not meant to be a dismissal of yout position. I was trying to explain why I consider your ideas to be counterintuitive and I probably didn’t do a very good job of showing appropriate respect for our disagreement. In my defense, I’m was pretty tired from work when I wrote my comment to you and this caused me to rush in my thinking and wording. It took me a long time to respond to your long and thought provoking comments and also to the comments of Zhou. So, I was a bit overloaded on this thread. I apologize if you feel that I wasted your time but I promise you that I only had the best intentions for our discussion.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Understood. We'll try to engage again soon. I need some rest as well. Until then ...
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    by exploitation: bribing addicts with money for their fix if they submit to being (medically) sterilized180 Proof

    Fair enough, but I would imagine there are some people out there whose thinking is not much better than an addict's (not much clearer or less tied to their next "fix"). For example, businesses exploit me for my labor because of my need to eat and play playstation. I get these are not identical scenarios, but I would consider there to be some (a lot) overlap (this is related to my question of can we "convince" people far dumber than us or is that just exploitation? - what about people with a natural chemical imbalance in their brain?)

    E.g. (a) cannibalising dead people iff starving ... (b) breaking into an empty house to shelter in place from a hurricane or other extreme weather ...  (c) self-defensive violence or killing, etc180 Proof

    thanks for these. Might there be people who THINK they are in a survival situation? Given the level of emotion on display, it seems some people actually believe that immigrants are an immediate threat to their families and their livelihood.

    Not perfect, or "ideologically pure", but good enough so long as she juggles the trade-offs conscientiously.180 Proof

    So if bob takes good care of the child then he is ok too?
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    So if bob takes good care of the child then he is ok too?ZhouBoTong

    No.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    But, I don’t see how this an exclusive critique of “License to Sin” Utilitarianism.TheHedoMinimalist

    I agree. When I said "this type" I meant any system that allowed for those sorts of justifications. I am happy to admit that I will never live up to my own ideal morality. Once I identify an ideal, I am not going to lower it just because I am not sure if anyone can live up to the ideal. That is why it is an ideal, not "how we normally act". So I agree that each of the systems you named is similarly flawed.

    it’s actually not clear to me if magical books dictate morality to religious people or if religious people dictate their magical books to their morality. I think it’s a bit of both.TheHedoMinimalist

    That's fair. I think I even started typing something about..."if the dictated morals are too repulsive then they would not be accepted", but then I thought it would be more accurate to say..."if the dictated morals are too repulsive, then they will gradually be phased out over a few centuries"...which suggests that culture changed that caused people to view things as repulsive that were previously just accepted (like stoning adulterers). But I will certainly agree with a bit of both.

    So, why are people who believe in the sanctity of life more likely to be religious? Well, it’s pretty difficult to defend their views through secular reasoning since it’s not clear why life should be valued for its own sake.TheHedoMinimalist

    I think you kind of answered your own question (which I think is good as it is more support for your theory). Religion definitely assigns value to life. Secular reasoning gives no such simple answers. And very few humans will be critical when they get the exact answer they are looking for.

    If 2 decision option are pretty close in goodness then you might as well just flip a coin and not over-analyze the decision.TheHedoMinimalist

    This actually captures a lot of my views on morality. Most of it is either grey area or so insignificant that the "right" decision doesn't matter. I enjoy philosophy and testing my decisions in hypothetical situations with the hope that I will make the "correct" moral decision in the one or two moments of my life where there is a difficult and important moral decision.

    But, my specific ideas are more designed for my own life and deciding what decisions I should make.TheHedoMinimalist

    Well, you are obviously at a higher level, but it sounds like we do this philosophy stuff for similar reasons :smile:

    On this thread, I defended theories that I don’t fully support like Agent Neutral Utilitarianism and “License to Sin” Utilitarianism because they are close relatives to my complicated theory. So, I need not only promote my specific theory.TheHedoMinimalist

    Feel free to point out (i will just view it as a learning experience) any time I misrepresent or misunderstand established theories. I have almost zero formal philosophy education (shocking, I know). I do take the time to look up definitions, but some of these ideas require a deep understanding before they really make sense.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    No.180 Proof

    So attitude/intention matters more than action? Their actions are identical. Bob has the baby for money. Mary has the baby for biological drive reasons. But their actions are identical. If we did not know their thoughts/circumstances we couldn't tell the difference.

    I assume you are tired of trying to teach me, but what am I missing? Is it just the difference between me valuing consequentialism more and you valuing virtue ethics more? (I am probably wrong in naming these ethical stances, but it will show what I am getting at)
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    So attitude/intention matters more than action? Their actions are identical.ZhouBoTong

    I think because their "actions are identical" context - to the extent intention can be plausibly surmised - matters in determining the merits of those actions respectively.

    If we did not know their thoughts/circumstances we couldn't tell the difference.

    But we do know enough about the respective circumstances, or conditions, of their decisions (though you oversimplify them, leaving out the telling details, I assume, for sake of brevity).

    Bob doesn't want to be disinherited.

    Mary doesn't want to be childless.

    Bob procreates in order to use his offspring to bribe his parents not to disinherit him; no other interest in his offspring's welfare is evident.

    Mary procreates in order to fulfill a biological need; and personal, motivated, desire to parent suggests interest in the welfare of her offspring.

    Bob procreates for an extrinsic benefit (i.e. means-to-an-end).

    Mary procreates for an intrinsic benefit (i.e. end in itself).

    Bob's offspring is a means for Bob to gain inheritance and a means for Bob's parents to be grandparents; exploiting junkies' habits by buying them junk in exchange for sterilizing themselves is just a self-serving excuse, or rationalization.

    Mary's offspring is a consequence of exercising the fundamental, biological, drive - which is an end in itself (since nature isn't intentional) - to procreate; once born, the child isn't just, or primarily, a means for Mary to 'be a parent' but also manifests an obligation to commit herself to the child's welfare (re: attachment-bonding) which entails Mary voluntarily suffering to parent - as well as suffer with - her child; and, lastly, Mary (unlike Bob) procreates despite rather than because of her evident commitment to the antinatal cause in general (or that predatory-exploitative "Project Prevention" racket in particular).

    Need I go on any further, ZBT?

    I assume you are tired of trying to teach me, but what am I missing?

    Only that I'm not "trying to teach" but rather give my reasons for disapproving of Bob and approving of Mary. 

    Is it just the difference between me valuing consequentialism more and you valuing virtue ethics more? (I am probably wrong in naming these ethical stances, but it will show what I am getting at)

    I 'marry' virtue to consequentialism in a 'naturalistic agent-based negative utilitarian / consequentialist ethics' which I summarize here (with a few more embedded links). Put another way, I conceive of "virtue" as being developed by judgments or conduct which strive to prevent mitigate or relieve as much foreseeable harm (i.e. personal pain/deprivation or social frustration/conflict) as possible.

    With respect to Mary and Bob, he at minimum, harms his offspring (not by procreating itself but by using his offspring as a means-to-an-end extraneous to his offspring's welfare), harms his parents (he's complicit in their extorting him for a grandchild and thereby facilitating their use of his offspring as a means to being grandparents rather than as an end itself) & harms the junkies by exploiting their fiending habit (& perhaps his community too), whereas she strives to mitigate (& relieve) the harms her child will suffer as the downside risk of her procreative tradeoff. I fail to see how Bob's proximate end (avoid disinheritance) in any way justifies the means he's chosen (bribe parents give him an inheritance by procreating - we are, if I'm not mistaken, impeaching a president later today for this sort of nakedly basic quid pro quo, aren't we?). Mary's proximate end (procreating), though not justificatory, seems to support, or validate, by her chosen means (motivated interest in her child's welfare by committing to parenting that (& not just any other e.g. "adopted") child).

    As an antinatalist myself, I don't agree with Bob or Mary, and don"t approve of that predatory racket pimped as the "Prevention Project" either, because my ethical commitments, the concerns of which being more proximate than promissary, precede and inform - rather than follow from (and are constrained by) - my antinatalist commitments.
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    Once I identify an ideal, I am not going to lower it just because I am not sure if anyone can live up to the ideal. That is why it is an ideal, not "how we normally act".ZhouBoTong

    I agree that we should not be discouraged from thinking that an action is good just because we can’t find the mental strength to perform the action. For example, I would consider sacrificing my life in a relatively painless manner to rescue many people from suffering to be a good decision option but it’s unlikely that I will have the bravery to act on that decision option. I don’t think this should be construed as evidence that I actually don’t think that it’s a good decision option deep inside. I think we might be psychologically unable to act on what we honestly consider good because of incontinence.

    That's fair. I think I even started typing something about..."if the dictated morals are too repulsive then they would not be accepted", but then I thought it would be more accurate to say..."if the dictated morals are too repulsive, then they will gradually be phased out over a few centuries"...which suggests that culture changed that caused people to view things as repulsive that were previously just accepted (like stoning adulterers). But I will certainly agree with a bit of both.ZhouBoTong

    It’s actually an interesting point that I haven’t thought about yesterday. Why were Christians supporting capital punishment in the past and continue to do so
    today? Wouldn’t this suggest that my theory that Christians are using the Bible to support life affirmation be wrong? Well, ironically enough, I actually think that capital punishment is strangely life affirming. To imply that bad people should be killed is to imply that life is valuable and death is harmful. Suicide, on the other hand, is like a philosophical rebellion against the affirmation of life. This is why I think it was more offensive to Life Affirming Christians than killing bad people as a punishment. Ironically enough, having a botched suicide attempt used to be a crime and it was punishable by death! You can’t make this shit up :lol: !

    This actually captures a lot of my views on morality. Most of it is either grey area or so insignificant that the "right" decision doesn't matter. I enjoy philosophy and testing my decisions in hypothetical situations with the hope that I will make the "correct" moral decision in the one or two moments of my life where there is a difficult and important moral decision.ZhouBoTong

    I agree. I’m actually more interested in prudential decision making than moral decision making. I’m trying to figure out if I should rent or buy a house once I move out of my mom’s place. I’m also trying to figure out if I should ever go back to school considering that I graduated with an Associate’s Degree that I never ended up using. These are very interesting and difficult philosophical questions for me. My preferred method for making progress on those issues is a pros and cons list which I continuously review and adjust for perceived inaccuracies. I also devised other decision making methods but I never managed to use them in an actual life decision. I also learned a thing or two about decision making by reading books by Nassim Taleb who I strongly recommend. I recently started a philosophical YouTube channel called Hedonic Minimalist in which I plan to eventually discuss all of my ideas on prudential theory and other topics. So far, I only have 8 videos made which average about 30 minutes in length but I should be able to release many more since making a 30 minute YouTube video usually only takes me like 50 minutes.

    Well, you are obviously at a higher level, but it sounds like we do this philosophy stuff for similar reasons :smile:ZhouBoTong

    Well, thank you :blush: . I appreciate the compliment!

    Feel free to point out (i will just view it as a learning experience) any time I misrepresent or misunderstand established theories. I have almost zero formal philosophy education (shocking, I know). I do take the time to look up definitions, but some of these ideas require a deep understanding before they really make sense.ZhouBoTong

    I actually think you have a pretty good grasp of many ideas. You understood my very wordy comments quite well. I kinda have a bad habit of using too much philosophical jargon. Though, I actually also never took a real class on philosophy in an actual university in my life. I mostly learned this stuff by listening to lectures on YouTube and reading academic philosophical journals on philarchive.org . Though a lot of jargon that I use was just created by me but often influenced by existing jargon. I think Philosophy is more about philosophizing than studying philosophy though. I spend a lot more time pacing around my house and thinking about certain ideas than actually studying the ideas of others. I often use philosophical journals as mere thought provokers when I have nothing to think about. I think you have quite a talent for philosophizing though. I was quite impressed by the objections that you gave for 180 Proof’s arguments :smile:
  • Bartricks
    2k
    This is a reply to the opening post.

    1. Bob thinks that life is bad and procreation is prima facie immoral. Because of this, he avoids procreating and donates his spare money to Project Prevention. But, he has very wealthy parents and they want grandchildren. Those parents would only allow him to have their inheritance if he procreates. Bob knows that receiving the inheritance money would allow him to get far more drug addicts sterilized. So, he decides to have just 1 child to receive the inheritance money and he gives his only child a privileged lifestyle while still ensuring that he can donate very large sums of money to Project Prevention.TheHedoMinimalist

    I am an antinatalist of Bob's kind (that is, I think procreation is prima facie immoral, but may nevertheless be justified in many cases). But I am doubtful that Bob's act would be justified, given just how serious a wrong procreation is. I agree that it is good if others do not breed, and so I agree that Bob's act would promote more good than bad. But that's not all that matters. It is also important to show respect for others in one's behaviour, and respect for free choice.

    Here's what seems to me to be a relevantly analogous case. Bullying is prima facie wrong. But imagine that Bob knows that if he starts bullying Sarah, his behaviour towards her will so revolt others who witness it that those others will resolve not to be bullies themselves. And thus, by bullying Sarah, Bob knows that overall he will bring about a reduction in bullying. Sarah will be bullied. But there will be less bullying overall if Sarah is bullied by Bob.

    Is it right for Bob to start bullying Sarah? Well, I'd say not. Yes, if he does so there will be less bullying overall. But the rightness or wrongness of an action is not solely determined by its consequences. We also ought to show respect for others, and that means not using them as tools. Bob would be using Sarah as a tool - an anti-bullying tool - and that seems wrong, despite the fact that fewer people will be bullied as a result.

    Likewise, if Bob were to procreate then he'd be using his child as a tool to reduce procreation. And that, I think, is wrong. Not necessarily, of course. An antinatalist who is a pure consequentialist - which is rare, because pure consequentialism is implausible - would disagree. And other antinatalists might disagree because they may judge that in this kind of a case the good consequences outweigh the badness of the disrespect shown by performing the act.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    Only that I'm not "trying to teach" but rather give my reasons for disapproving of Bob and approving of Mary.180 Proof

    Well that is entirely fair. My brain gets stuck in a certain perspective sometimes, and stops considering obvious things like this :grimace:

    With respect to Mary and Bob, he at minimum, harms his offspring (not by procreating itself but by using his offspring as a means-to-an-end extraneous to his offspring's welfare), harms his parents (he's complicit in their extorting him for a grandchild and thereby facilitating their use of his offspring as a means to being grandparents rather than as an end itself)180 Proof

    This is the main our real area of contention. Likely due to my own emotional propensities, I don't care if my family or friends actually love me. I care about how I am treated. If I am treated well, then they are good in my book. So, if I am 70, and learn that 2 of my friends have actually hated me the whole time, I would say thank you for the courtesy and good times, and move on with life. Those "wasted" years of kindness harmed them a lot more than me.

    Perhaps you are suggesting that someone in Bob's position could never raise the child well?

    I fail to see how Bob's proximate end (avoid disinheritance) in any way justifies the means he's chosen (bribe parents give him an inheritance by procreating - we are, if I'm not mistaken, impeaching a president later today for this sort of nakedly basic quid pro quo, aren't we?).180 Proof

    I would think we are impeaching the pres because his quid pro quo is illegal, I have traded a lot of back scratching with no seeming immoral downside to quid pro quo. I also do not have a moral belief that it is immoral to avoid inheritance (it is not an admirable quality, but not itself problematic - how about the parents manipulating their child by offering an inheritance if he procreates?). IF the means were negative (poor treatment of the child) then even neutral ends are unjustified. However, if the child is treated well, and the grandparent get to love and adore it, then no negative behavior occurs. So I don't need to worry about justifying a neutral end.

    I 'marry' virtue to consequentialism in a 'naturalistic agent-based negative utilitarian / consequentialist ethics' which I summarize here (with a few more embedded links).180 Proof

    This is the where all the "teach me" comes from (not suggesting you should actually try to do it, haha). I don't have any degrees in philosophy and both this sentence and your summarized philosophy would seem to require years (or hundreds of hours - maybe only dozens to be fair) to truly understand. I would need a total (not just a definition) understanding of each of the concepts or schools of thought you mention. Now we are on a philosophy site so there is no reason you should feel the need to dumb things down (I have read enough of your posts to know you do not feel bogged down by this obligation, haha), but I just want to be sure I am not missing something more obvious.

    Is this like advanced physics or something where there is no simplifying?...could a teenager embrace your philosophical views or does it require years of deep knowledge to adopt?
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    For example, I would consider sacrificing my life in a relatively painless manner to rescue many people from suffering to be a good decision option but it’s unlikely that I will have the bravery to act on that decision option. I don’t think this should be construed as evidence that I actually don’t think that it’s a good decision option deep inside. I think we might be psychologically unable to act on what we honestly consider good because of incontinence.TheHedoMinimalist

    100% agree. One of my biggest fears is that I will freeze in the one moment I get to truly show moral conviction (I'd even LIKE TO THINK that I would accept a painful death if it saved other people). And beyond freezing or emotional problems, some situations will require a certain level of physical fitness (the more nervous you are, the quicker you feel the cardiovascular effects). I used to do martial arts and play soccer, but it has now been a few years and I wonder if that could be a problem some day.

    I actually think that capital punishment is strangely life affirming. To imply that bad people should be killed is to imply that life is valuable and death is harmful.TheHedoMinimalist

    This makes sense. But for christians...judge not lest ye be judged. They are making the penultimate judgement (I was about to say ultimate but I guess that would be the eternal state of their soul - "ultimate" in their physical lives). But ignoring christian dogma, your point seems entirely reasonable.

    Ironically enough, having a botched suicide attempt used to be a crime and it was punishable by death! You can’t make this shit up :lol: !TheHedoMinimalist

    I can only agree with the hilarity :lol:

    I’m actually more interested in prudential decision making than moral decision making.TheHedoMinimalist

    I like the sound of this...but then realized I am not exactly sure what that means (likely my fault ). I would think that one could make moral decisions in a prudential manner? Perhaps you are viewing moral decisions as more dogmatic or as a list of rules/maxims....that doesn't seem quite right. I think I will just wait for your explanation as my guesses are likely to do us both a disservice.

    I also learned a thing or two about decision making by reading books by Nassim Taleb who I strongly recommend.TheHedoMinimalist

    I thought I had heard of him, but don't know why, so I just googled him. The Black Swan sounds interesting...although the summary seems a little over my head. Do I need to understand finances, markets, trading, etc to a high level before reading him? Most likely I will end up searching around for good summaries...the part I understood certainly sounded promising:

    "The book focuses on the extreme impact of rare and unpredictable outlier events — and the human tendency to find simplistic explanations for these events, retrospectively." - wikipedia

    I recently started a philosophical YouTube channel called Hedonic Minimalist in which I plan to eventually discuss all of my ideas on prudential theory and other topics. So far, I only have 8 videos made which average about 30 minutes in length but I should be able to release many more since making a 30 minute YouTube video usually only takes me like 50 minutes.TheHedoMinimalist

    Nice. I think it would take me 10 days to even write a script for a 30 minute video. And my neurosis would never allow to make a video without entirely planning every word I was going to say. I will try to check them out, but I am unlikely to vastly improve your "hits" as I generally prefer learning from text...those incredible astronomy shows on the science channel(s) and any of the "Planet Earth" style nature shows are the exception...If you can do philosophy with that sort of production value, I may end up a regular viewer :grin: In any case, it is a worthy endeavor.

    You understood my very wordy comments quite well. I kinda have a bad habit of using too much philosophical jargon.TheHedoMinimalist

    haha, you use a good bit. But there are a few people on this site who are even more jargon heavy...I still fail to understand quite a bit...and then somehow come across as a dick when I don't get it (I expect an explanation that I would find boring if I was in their position)...see my current conversation with 180proof in this thread, haha.

    I mostly learned this stuff by listening to lectures on YouTube and reading academic philosophical journals on philarchive.org .TheHedoMinimalist

    Well I must need to more of both...I will definitely check out the philarchive.org.

    I think Philosophy is more about philosophizing than studying philosophy though.TheHedoMinimalist

    I certainly think so. In fact I am always trying to find the useful bits of "advanced" philosophy. But it seems they can't be explained to the uninitiated...which makes me question their practical value?

    I think you have quite a talent for philosophizing though.TheHedoMinimalist

    Wait, I am just here to argue...how did we start trading compliments? :rofl:
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    233
    I am an antinatalist of Bob's kind (that is, I think procreation is prima facie immoral, but may nevertheless be justified in many cases).Bartricks

    That’s interesting, in what cases do you think that procreation is justified?

    But that's not all that matters. It is also important to show respect for others in one's behaviour, and respect for free choice.Bartricks

    Fair enough, we can say that showing respect for other’s behavior is important. But, in the case of Bob, the consequence of his actions is REALLY good. It only costs about $400 to give a drug addict long term contraception. PP pays drug addicts $300 and also probably takes some of the money to cover administrative costs. $400 is meant to be a pretty conservative estimate I think. If Bob donates like 2 million dollars to the organization, then he would be responsible for applying long term contraception to about 5000 drug addicts. The average drug addict that signs up for this program usually gets pregnant or gets someone else pregnant about once every 2 years or so. But, they are usually women who are already in their late 20s or early 30s. So, I would make a conservative estimate that each implementation of long term contraception would prevent 2 children from being born. Thus, Bob likely prevented around 10,000 children from being born to drug addicted parents. These are children that are often born addicted to drugs and they get taken away to abusive foster homes. So, their lives probably contain more suffering than average. They are also less likely to be vegan and avoid the consumption of countless of factory farm animals(this is because veganism is more common among the privileged in western countries.). This leads to more reproduction of sentient beings and more suffering. In addition, they are more likely to grow up as drug addicts and create drug addicted children of their own. So, Bob is probably preventing like a million of sentient beings from coming into existence(if we include factory farm animals.). It’s possible that factory farming will soon be obsolete with the creation of affordable cultured meat. Nonetheless, Bob probably prevented around 100,000 miserable people from being born across multiple generations while only potentially creating like 10 privileged people across multiple generations(though this estimate is almost certainly wrong if the human species survives uninterrupted for more than a hundred years. The difference would be even larger then). Given the magnitude of Bob’s positive impact, wouldn’t this justify violating the rights of just 1 person who is his child? I don’t think we have to be pure consequentialist to think that an enormously good consequence could justify one pretty bad action.
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