Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties

South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):94-103 (2012)
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Abstract

Benatar’s central argument for antinatalism develops an asymmetry between the pain and pleasure in a potential life. I am going to present an alternative route to the antinatalist conclusion. I argue that duties require victims and that as a result there is no duty to create the pleasures contained within a prospective life but a duty not to create any of its sufferings. My argument can supplement Benatar’s, but it also enjoys some advantages: it achieves a better fit with our intuitions; it does not require us to acknowledge that life is a harm, or that a world devoid of life is a good thing; and it is easy to see why it does not have any pro-mortalist implications.

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Gerald K. Harrison
Massey University

Citations of this work

The Hypothetical Consent Objection to Anti-Natalism.Asheel Singh - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1135-1150.
Does the Lack of Cosmic Meaning Make Our Lives Bad?Thaddeus Metz - 2022 - Journal of Value Inquiry 56 (1):37-50.
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Genome Editing for Longer Lives: The Problem of Loneliness.C. S. Wareham - 2020 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 17 (2):309-314.

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References found in this work

Ethical Intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2005 - New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Revisionary intuitionism.Michael Huemer - 2008 - Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):368-392.
Deontic Morality and Control.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.

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