Here’s Not Looking at You, Kid: A New Defense of Anti-Natalism

South African Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):14-33 (2021)
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Abstract

Anti-natalism is the view that persons ought morally to refrain from procreation. We offer a new argument for a principled version of anti-natalism according to which it is always impermissible to procreate in the actual world since doing so will violate the right to physical security of future, created persons once those persons exist and have the right. First, we argue that procreators can be responsible for non-trivial harms that befall future persons even if they do not cause them and if the harms are temporally delayed, provided the harms are reasonably foreseeable by procreators. For example, consider a case in which we can create a person in a room that is dangerously aflame. It would be wrong to do so since, once the person exists, they have a right that we avoid being morally responsible for unjust harms to them, and the fire in which we created them is one such unjust harm. Second, we argue that procreators are responsible for unjust harms that befall their children, since many non-trivial physical harms (e.g. broken bones, lower respiratory illnesses) are reasonably foreseeable by procreators. Thus, parents wrong their children by creating them. Third, we argue that procreators are also responsible for the unjust harms their children commit against others, since it is reasonably foreseeable that every person will inflict unjust, non-trivial physical harms on someone else. But this is worse since parents thereby share in their child’s future culpable intent. Finally, we consider a number of objections to anti-natalism and argue that none of them succeed against anti-natalism generally or against our argument grounded in the right to physical security.

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Author Profiles

Blake Hereth
University of Pennsylvania
Anthony Ferrucci
University of Washington

References found in this work

Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform.Tommie Shelby - 2016 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The basis of moral liability to defensive killing.Jeff McMahan - 2005 - Philosophical Issues 15 (1):386–405.
The Hypothetical Consent Objection to Anti-Natalism.Asheel Singh - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1135-1150.

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