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Antinatalism is the view that it is immoral to have children. Perhaps its most well-known contemporary advocate is David Benatar, whose book ‘Better Never To Have Been’ advances the ‘asymmetry of pleasure and pain,’ claiming that, before birth, an unborn person’s potential pleasures are morally irrelevant, but their potential suffering matters greatly in our deciding whether or not to bring them into existence.
A useful diagram explaining the asymmetry can be found here: https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/59139/is-benatars-asymmetry-of-pleasure-and-pain-wrong
To explain this, Benatar asks us to think of Mars, on which there is no life. We do not lament the non-existence of potential pleasure on Mars; it’s not a bad thing that there is no pleasure being experienced there. However, arguably, it is a good thing that there is no suffering.
In other words, to suffer from a lack of pleasure, there must be a person actually existing to do the lacking, whereas to benefit from a lack of pain does not require a potential person to actually exist.
In this discussion, I speak to Jack Hancock (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf_M41aNZ0tDeyP-32aPEIw) about the asymmetry, as well as whether a case for antinatalism can be made if the asymmetry is rejected. On Jack’s channel, we spoke about wild animal suffering (‘the vegan blindspot’), which is available in the link below.
Please note these are my preliminary thoughts on antinatalism, which I would like to develop in response to comments on this discussion, and perhaps make a future video expressing more solidified views.
Discussion on Wild Animal Suffering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TaFwHa5ZRs
Humane Hancock’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf_M41aNZ0tDeyP-32aPEIw
D. Benatar, Better Never to Have Been: https://amzn.to/2RbkJ4q
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