In defence of genethical parity

In David Archard & David Benatar (eds.), Procreation and Parenthood: The Ethics of Bearing and Rearing Children. Oxford University Press (2010)

Tim Bayne
Monash University
Can a person be harmed or wronged by being brought into existence? Can a person be benefited by being brought into existence? Following David Heyd, I refer to these questions as “genethical questions”. This chapter examines three broad approaches to genethics: the no-faults model, the dual-benchmark model, and the parity model. The no-faults model holds that coming into existence is not properly subject to moral evaluation, at least so far as the interests of the person that is to be brought into existence are concerned. The dual benchmark model allows that coming into existence can be subject to moral evaluation, but holds that our judgments about the kinds of lives worth starting ought not be aligned with our judgments about the kinds of lives worth sustaining. I argue against both the no-faults and dual benchmark models. In their place, I argue for a parity approach to genethics, according to which our judgments about the conditions under which life is worth creating ought to be constrained by our judgments about the conditions under which life is worth continuing.
Keywords David Beneatar  Procreation  Non-Identity Problem  Birth  Wrongful Life
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