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Is it unethical to have children?

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  1. 1. Antinatalism Is it unethical to have children?
  2. 2. Antinatalism View that we ought to desist from procreating – that it is wrong to have children. Environmental Misanthropic Philanthropic Routes to Antinatalism
  3. 3. – Theophile de Giraud “Making others suffer is incompatible with Ethics. To live is to suffer. Therefore to give life is incompatible with Ethics.”
  4. 4. Suffering > Pleasure • Frustrations and bereavements.
 • Life is often punctuated by periods of ill-health.
 • Other serious diseases: Strokes, various degenerative diseases, cancer, etc.
 • Boredom.
 • Competition for resources. Optimism bias: People underestimate the amount of bad in life
  5. 5. • A new person is a new “need machine” who will only manage to satisfy some subset of those needs. • What goes unsatisfied -> suffering of deprivation. • What is satisfied -> greater and greater levels of need. • In the process of fulfilling our needs, we cause deprivation and suffering in other living things (i.e. slaves, animals).
 • We can’t exist without causing harm, this is the way the cycle of nature and existence works.
 • Most human’s will to survive supersedes the harm that they are inflicting. Suffering > Pleasure
  6. 6. – Arthur Schopenhauer “Pleasure is never as pleasant as we expected it to be and pain is always more painful. The pain in the world always outweighs the pleasure. If you don’t believe it, compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is eating the other.”
  7. 7. How about happiness? • Any positive experiences will always be outweighed by suffering which is a more powerful feeling.
 • All pleasures are merely pain/discomfort relievers, i.e. they remove negatives but don't provide any positives in and of themselves.
 • Happiness exists to, and only to, relive suffering and discomfort.
 • One brings a person from a state of non-suffering/ discomfort into a state of suffering/discomfort so that they can experience happiness to relieve said suffering/ discomfort.
  8. 8. – George Orwell “Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.”
  9. 9. Benatar’s Assymetry
  10. 10. Benatar’s Assymetry (1) If a person exists, then their pain is a bad thing. (2) If a person exists, then their pleasure is a good thing. (3) What does not exist cannot suffer (therefore this non- existing pain is a good thing). (4) What does not exist cannot be deprived of any pleasure (therefore this non-existing pleasure is not a bad thing). Because of (4) -> There is a clear asymmetry between pleasure and pain.
  11. 11. – Peter Wessel Zapffe “A coin is turned around before it is handed to the beggar, yet a child is unflinchingly tossed into cosmic bruteness.”
  12. 12. – Richard Dawkins “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”