Global Anti-Natalism: What Is Right About Having Children?

2005 Words9 Pages
What Is Right About Having Children? Some philosophers hold that having children is impermissible under any circumstances, call this view global anti-natalism. Among these philosophers, David Benatar (2006) introduces a famous asymmetry argument on individuals’ evaluation of pain, pleasure, absence of pain and absence of pleasure (30-31). Based on this argument, Benatar believes, “Being brought into existence is not a benefit but always a harm” (28); thus global anti-natalism (i.e. it is always wrong to have children). Although I agree with Benatar’s asymmetry argument and admit that one is always seriously harmed because of her existence, I argue that the global anti-natalist conclusion does not follow. In order to do this, I will first present Benatar’s asymmetry argument. Then, I will show how a global anti-natalist conclusion fails to follow from his argument. I will next consider the particular reason that justifies procreation. Finally, I will respond to possible objections to my arguments. I. Benatar’s Asymmetry Argument Benatar’s (2013) asymmetry argument goes as follows: 1. The presence of pain is bad; and 2. The presence of pleasure is good. 3. The absence of pain is good even if that good is not enjoyed by anyone; but…show more content…
First, our reasoning may well be biased toward ourselves. Say a potential individual X’s parents are both believers of a moral obligation to have children. Challenged by the asymmetry argument, her parents might overestimate the pleasure X would gain and underestimate the pain X would experience in order to justify their action of bring X into existence. Second, as L. A. Paul (2015) notes, “you cannot rationally choose to have a child based on what you think it will be like to have a child” (168). People may also plausibly expect that we cannot rationally choose to have a child based on what we think it will be like for that child to
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