Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (4):317-331 (2010)

David DeGrazia
George Washington University
Might it be morally wrong to procreate? David Benatar answers affirmatively in Better Never to Have Been , arguing that coming into existence is always a great harm. I counter this view in several ways. First, I argue against Benatar’s asserted asymmetry between harm and benefit—which would support the claim that any amount of harm in a human life would make it not worth starting—while questioning the significance of his distinction between a life worth starting and one worth continuing. I further contend that his understanding of hedonism and desire-fulfillment theories distorts their implications for the quality of human life; as for objective-list theories, I rebut his critique of their human-centered basis of evaluation. Notwithstanding this multi-tiered challenge to Benatar’s reasoning, I conclude with praise for his work and the intellectual virtues it embodies
Keywords Procreation  Wrongful life  Harm  Benefit  Quality of life  Existence
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-010-9152-y
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics.L. W. Sumner - 1996 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Still Better Never to Have Been: A Reply to My Critics.David Benatar - 2013 - The Journal of Ethics 17 (1-2):121-151.
Personal Identity and Ethics.David Shoemaker - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Quality of Life Assessments, Cognitive Reliability, and Procreative Responsibility.Jason Marsh - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):436-466.
The Hypothetical Consent Objection to Anti-Natalism.Asheel Singh - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1135-1150.
Five Tests for What Makes a Life Worth Living.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (4):1-21.

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