To Be or Not to Have Been?

Abstract
Most people think that their coming into existence benefited them. This paper reports on and analyses a study that shows that most people, when making such a judgement, do not really consider the counterfactual case -- the scenario in which they never come into existence. Because proper consideration is not given to both options, the ranking of one over the other is not an appropriately informed judgement. The preference for having come into existence is thus a profoundly unreliable indicator of whether it really is better to be than not to have been. The practical value of knowing this will be outlined
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