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
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    View all 13 references

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    70 ( #16,751 of 1,088,873 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    3 ( #30,950 of 1,088,873 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.