Better Never to Have Been?: The Unseen Implications [Book Review]

Philosophia 39 (2):225-235 (2011)
This paper will directly tackle the question of Benatar’s asymmetry at the heart of his book Better Never to have Been and provide a critique based on some of the logical consequences that result from the proposition that every potential life can only be understood in terms of the pain that person would experience if she or he was born. The decision only to evaluate future pain avoided and not pleasure denied for potential people means that we should view each birth as an unmitigated tragedy. The result is that someone who seeks to maximize utility could easily justify immense suffering for current people in order to prevent the births of potential people. This paper offers an alternative framework for evaluating the creation of people that addresses Benatar’s asymmetry without overvaluing the potential suffering of potential people
Keywords Benatar  Birth  Antinatalism  Utilitarianism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-010-9267-4
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,520
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Harming by Conceiving: A Review of Misconceptions and a New Analysis. [REVIEW]Carson Strong - 2005 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5):491 – 516.
Better to Exist: A Reply to Benatar.S. D. Baum - 2008 - Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (12):875-876.
Grim News for an Unoriginal Position: A Reply to Seth Baum.D. Benatar - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):328-329.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
How Best to Prevent Future Persons From Suffering: A Reply to Benatar.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2012 - South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):79-93.
Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties.Gerald K. Harrison - 2012 - South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):94-103.
Coming Clean About the Criminal Law.James Edwards - 2011 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (3):315-332.
Tragedy and Nonhumans.Daniel Putman - 1989 - Environmental Ethics 11 (4):345-353.
Causing People to Exist and Saving People's Lives.Jeff McMahan - 2013 - Journal of Ethics 17 (1-2):5-35.
Essays on Henry Sidgwick.Peter Singer - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2):533-537.
The Asymmetrical Contributions of Pleasure and Pain to Animal Welfare.Adam Shriver - 2014 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 23 (2):152-162.
Distinguishing the Appearance From the Reality of Pain.Kevin Reuter - 2011 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (9-10):94-109.
Potential Being and the Source of Cosmic Order.Gary Atkinson - 2006 - International Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):345-369.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
53 ( #100,641 of 2,180,741 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #50,047 of 2,180,741 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums