Is it wrong to impose the Harms of human life? A reply to Benatar

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (4):317-331 (2010)
Might it be morally wrong to procreate? David Benatar answers affirmatively in Better Never to Have Been , arguing that coming into existence is always a great harm. I counter this view in several ways. First, I argue against Benatar’s asserted asymmetry between harm and benefit—which would support the claim that any amount of harm in a human life would make it not worth starting—while questioning the significance of his distinction between a life worth starting and one worth continuing. I further contend that his understanding of hedonism and desire-fulfillment theories distorts their implications for the quality of human life; as for objective-list theories, I rebut his critique of their human-centered basis of evaluation. Notwithstanding this multi-tiered challenge to Benatar’s reasoning, I conclude with praise for his work and the intellectual virtues it embodies
Keywords Procreation  Wrongful life  Harm  Benefit  Quality of life  Existence
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-010-9152-y
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Brian McLean (2015). What’s So Good About Non-Existence? Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2):81-94.

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