How good or bad is a person’s life? How good or bad is a world? In this dissertation, I will attempt to answer these questions. Common-sense would dictate that if a person’s life would be extremely bad, then bringing her into existence is a bad thing. Not only is it bad for the person who lives it, but also, it is bad because it makes the world a worse place. A world populated only by individuals who have lives full of unrelenting misery and suffering is certainly worse than a world only populated by individuals who are extremely well off. If we can measure the value of a person’s life and the value of a world, then we can determine how good or bad our lives are and how good or bad the actual world is. Investigating these issues and providing satisfactory answers to these questions is immensely important. In this dissertation I argue that all actual human lives are so bad that it would have been better had all of us never come into existence. I also argue that our world is worse than an empty world. The nucleus of my view consists of the following two claims: i. Each person has an interest in acquiring a new satisfied preference. ii. Whenever a person is deprived of a new satisfied preference this violates an interest and is thus a harm with a finite disvalue. If one holds both and, then one is a deprivationalist. Any deprivationalist will have to claim that existence is worse for all actual persons than non-existence. I also show that deprivationalism presents a clear strategy for escaping The Repugnant Conclusion and The Mere Addition Paradox. For a deprivationalist, the Non-Identity Problem is neutralized as well. Parfit’s challenge in Reasons and Persons was to devise a theory of beneficence that could escape these cases without leading to other unacceptable conclusions. Parfit failed to find a theory—“Theory X”—that would meet these requirements. If the conclusions in this dissertation are correct, then deprivationalism is a good candidate for Theory X.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,058
External links

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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On Having a Good.Christine M. Korsgaard - 2014 - Philosophy 89 (3):405-429.
The Metaphysics of Death.John Martin Fischer (ed.) - 1993 - Stanford University Press.
Theism and Modal Collapse.Klaas J. Kraay - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):361.
Freedom and Evil.Richard Swinburne - 2003 - In Julian Baggini & Jeremy Stangroom (eds.), What Philosophers Think. Continuum Press.
Why is Death Bad?Anthony L. Brueckner & John Martin Fischer - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 50 (2):213-221.
Good and Bad Actions.Alastair Norcross - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (1):1-34.


Added to PP index

Total views
29 ( #364,829 of 2,427,680 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #329,204 of 2,427,680 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes