David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy Compass 6 (11):765-776 (2011)
According to the Asymmetry, it is wrong to bring a miserable child into existence but permissible not to bring a happy child into existence. When it comes to procreation, we don’t have complete procreative liberty. But we do have some discretion. The Asymmetry seems highly intuitive. But a plausible account of the Asymmetry has been surprisingly difficult to provide, and it may well be that most moral philosophers – or at least most consequentialists – think that all reasonable efforts to provide such an account have by now been exhausted. In this paper, I argue that, despite the difficulties, the Asymmetry is too important to be set aside. I also note a handful of accounts of the Asymmetry that have been proposed and why they fail. It seems, for example, that it will not do to say that some people matter morally and others don’t, or that a person matters morally in some worlds but not others. My own conclusion is that, while we are bound to say all people matter morally – you, me and the merely possible – we are not bound to say that all their losses– or all ours– matter morally. We can instead distinguish between morally significant and insignificant losses, with the distinction between the two being a matter of where the loss is incurred in relation to the person who incurs it. This way of looking at things – which I call Variabilism– provides the basis for a plausible account of the Asymmetry. The availability of such an account suggests, I think, that our prospects for rescuing the Asymmetry are bright
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Broome (2009). Reply to Vallentyne. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (3):747-752.
John Broome (2005). Should We Value Population? Journal of Political Philosophy 13 (4):399-413.
John Broome (2004). Weighing Lives. Oxford University Press.
Krister Bykvist (2007). The Benefits of Coming Into Existence. Philosophical Studies 135 (3):335 - 362.
Daniel J. Elstein (2005). The Asymmetry of Creating and Not Creating Life. Journal of Value Inquiry 39 (1):49-59.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Gerald K. Harrison (2012). Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties. South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):94-103.
Jimmy Alfonso Licon (2012). The Immorality of Procreation. Think 11 (32):85-91.
Melinda A. Roberts (2011). The Asymmetry: A Solution. Theoria 77 (4):333-367.
David Archard & David Benatar (eds.) (2010). Procreation and Parenthood: The Ethics of Bearing and Rearing Children. Oxford University Press.
Subodh P. Kulkarni (2000). Environmental Ethics and Information Asymmetry Among Organizational Stakeholders. Journal of Business Ethics 28 (4):215 - 228.
John F. Post (1999). Is Supervenience Asymmetric? Manuscrito 22 (2):305-344.
Theodore Sider (1993). Asymmetry and Self-Sacrifice. Philosophical Studies 70 (2):117 - 132.
T. V. Barchunova (2003). The Selfish Gender, or the Reproduction of Gender Asymmetry in Gender Studies. Studies in East European Thought 55 (1):3-25.
Elie Spitz (2001). Sweet Gifts: A Jewish Response to Gilbert Meilaender. Journal of Religious Ethics 29 (1):19 - 23.
Phil Dowe (1992). Process Causality and Asymmetry. Erkenntnis 37 (2):179-196.
Adam Elga (2001). Statistical Mechanics and the Asymmetry of Counterfactual Dependence. Philosophy of Science 68 (S1):S313-.
Gerald K. Harrison & Julia Tanner (2011). Better Not to Have Children. Think, 10(27), 113-121 (27):113-121.
Per Algander (2012). A Defence of the Asymmetry in Population Ethics. Res Publica 18 (2):145-157.
Jill North (2003). Understanding the Time-Asymmetry of Radiation. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1086-1097.
Added to index2011-11-11
Total downloads34 ( #80,271 of 1,700,283 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #105,649 of 1,700,283 )
How can I increase my downloads?