Better Never to Have Been Believed: Benatar on the Harm of Existence

Economics and Philosophy 27 (1):45-52 (2011)
Abstract
In Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that existence is always a harm (Benatar 2006, pp. 18--59). His argument, in brief, is that this follows from a theory of personal good which we ought to accept because it best explains several 'asymmetries'. I shall argue here (a) that Benatar's theory suffers from a defect which was already widely known to afflict similar theories, and (b) that the main asymmetry he discusses is better explained in a way which allows that existence is often not a harm.
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References found in this work BETA
Stuart Rachels (1998). Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Better Than. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):71 – 83.
Larry S. Temkin (1996). A Continuum Argument for Intransitivity. Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (3):175–210.
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