Sophia 59 (4):809-819 (2020)

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Patrick Hutchings
University of Melbourne
Abstract
Benatar has a principle of asymmetry, i.e. that coming into existence as a human being is coming into a world in which harm is more likely than well-being. This is Thesis 1. Thesis 2 is that thesis 1 entails that one should not procreate. The threat of the end of civilization and the extinction of humanity by climate change renders ‘do not procreate’ a notion no longer counter-intuitive. Thesis 3 concerns ‘population and extinction’: he envisages ‘population zero’ as a desirable consequence of thesis 2 even though ‘The last generation to die out would bear heavy burdens’. Benatar writes, ‘It would indeed have been better if no people had been added to the Edenic Lives of Adam and Eve’. The Blue Bird by Maurice Maeterlinck one hated. Benatar cites two schools of thought in the Talmud—the House of Hillel who thought the creation of humans was good and the House of Shammi thought it bad. Christians following Aquinas’ omne ens est bonum may find some Jewish notions quite the opposite of a Christian conviction, that, to be, is simply good.
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-020-00797-2
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