View that we ought to desist from procreating – that it is wrong to
Environmental Misanthropic Philanthropic
Routes to Antinatalism
– Theophile de Giraud
“Making others suffer is incompatible with
Ethics. To live is to suffer. Therefore to give life
is incompatible with Ethics.”
Suffering > Pleasure
• Frustrations and bereavements.
• Life is often punctuated by periods of ill-health.
• Other serious diseases: Strokes, various degenerative
diseases, cancer, etc.
• Competition for resources.
People underestimate the amount of bad in life
• 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.
• 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
Suffering > Pleasure
– 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.”
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
• Happiness exists to, and only to, relive suffering and
• 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/
– 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
(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
Because of (4) -> There is a clear asymmetry between
pleasure and pain.
– Peter Wessel Zapffe
“A coin is turned around before it is handed to
the beggar, yet a child is unﬂinchingly tossed
into cosmic bruteness.”
– 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