David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (3):336-363 (2009)
The question I address in this paper is whether and under what conditions it is morally right to bring a person into existence. I defend the commonsensical thesis that, other things being equal, it is morally wrong to create a person who will be below some threshold of quality of life, even if the life of this potential person, once created, will nevertheless be worth living. However commonsensical this view might seem, it has shown to be problematic because of the so-called 'Non-Identity Problem'. Both utilitarian and rights-based approaches have been unable to provide a solution to this problem. I rest my thesis on two premises: that causing a disability or impairment in a future person is prima facie wrong, so long as we can avoid causing such a disability to that very person; and that reproduction, under normal conditions, is prima facie morally indifferent. From these two premises, I conclude that it is prima facie wrong to bring into existence a person with a non-trivial disability or impairment (which might be, nonetheless, compatible with a worthwhile life), even if the only available alternative is to remain childless.
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References found in this work BETA
Michael D. Bayles (1976). Harm to the Unconceived. Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (3):292-304.
David Benatar (2006). Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence. New York ;Oxford University Press.
David Benatar (1997). Why It Is Better Never to Come Into Existence. American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (3):345 - 355.
John Broome (1999). Ethics Out of Economics. Cambridge University Press.
Cynthia B. Cohen (1996). “Give Me Children or I Shall Die!”: New Reproductive Technologies and Harm to Children. Hastings Center Report 26 (2):19-27.
Citations of this work BETA
Melissa Seymour Fahmy (2013). On Procreative Responsibility in Assisted and Collaborative Reproduction. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):55-70.
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