Discussion:
  1. Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence.David Benatar - 2006 - New York ;Oxford University Press.
    Better Never to Have Been argues for a number of related, highly provocative, views: (1) Coming into existence is always a serious harm. (2) It is always wrong to have children. (3) It is wrong not to abort fetuses at the earlier stages of gestation. (4) It would be better if, as a result of there being no new people, humanity became extinct. These views may sound unbelievable--but anyone who reads Benatar will be obliged to take them seriously.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   27 citations  
Back    All discussions

2014-05-18
EXISTENTIAL METRICS

(1) That sentient life will one day come to an end is no solace for those sentients existing and suffering today.

(2) Whether it is better to have been or not to have been is a Cartesian koan I can ponder concrerning myself, but not one I have a right to decide concerning another sentient that is or has been; all the less right have I to create or support the creation of another sentient, out of nothing.

(3) Pain and pleasure are incommensurable; only pain is pertinent to moral musings like these: No number of orgasms (for me) compensates for one fallen sparrow; and, again, the sparrow’s pains or solaces are not for me to weigh -- for the sparrow.

(4) Christianity is particularly self-righteous and presumptuous on such questions, always ready to sanction temporal risk and suffering for the bodies of others for the salvation of their immaterial, immortal souls, sub specie aeternitatis.



2014-05-18
EXISTENTIAL METRICS
Reply to Stevan Harnad
Revision:
(1) That sentient life will one day come to an end is no solace for those sentients existing and suffering today.

(2) Whether it was better to have been or not to have been is a Cartesian koan I can ponder concerning my own existence, but I have no right to condemn another to existence.

(3) Pain and pleasure are incommensurable; only pain is pertinent to moral musings like these: No number of orgasms (for me) compensates for one fallen sparrow; and, again, the sparrow’s potential pains or solaces are not for me to weigh -- for the potential sparrow.

(4) Christianity's injunction to procreate come-what-may is particularly sociopathic, ever ready to sanction potential temporal risk and suffering for the bodies of others in the name of the sanctity and salvation of their immaterial, immortal souls, sub specie aeternitatis -- and in the name of free will, no less...


2014-06-11
EXISTENTIAL METRICS
Reply to Stevan Harnad

Hi Steve

Interesting thoughts.Couple of brief comments:

RE: That sentient life will one day come to an end is no solace for those sentients existing and suffering today.

Indeed. In fact, some (e.g. Pascal) argue that the prospect of inevitable death only adds to the misery. But I read recently in a cfp for a conference on “transhumanism” that death and suffering are soon to be abolished. So it seems there’s hope in sight.

RE “but I have no right to condemn another to existence”.

I bit draconian. No more births? But wouldn’t that mean that the human race would die out? Do you have the right (since we are talking about rights) to make that decision?

 RE: “Christianity's injunction to procreate come-what-may is particularly sociopathic.”

But not all branches of Christianity take this view (if you are referring to the anti-contraception doctrine). And I’d guess that only a small proportion of Catholics today would follow the rule anyway. But if you are saying there's just too many people in the world, I fully agree.

DA