Procreation, Adoption and the Contours of Obligation

Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (3):293-309 (2015)
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The goal of this article is to evaluate the defensibility of wide-spread beliefs concerning the moral value of procreating. Very many of us are ‘pro-natal’ — that is, we have a positive moral view of making more people — but pro-natalism is under serious threat. In particular, I argue that combining several arguments in procreative ethics generates a powerful case for the Anti-Natal Pro-Adoption View, or the view that we are obligated not to procreate, but instead to satisfy any parenting desires through adoption. Although this article ultimately serves as a defence against ANPA, it does so in a very limited way: while it is false that we are obligated to adopt-rather-than-procreate, I contend, this does not mean that we are off the moral hook altogether. Failing in our obligations is only one way to fail morality. Our procreative acts may yet be bad, dishonourable, selfish, and open to multiple other criticisms. And indeed, I'm afraid many of them are



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Travis Rieder
Johns Hopkins University

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