Better Never to Have Been: The Harm Of Coming Into Existence Info

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Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least
not harmed by being brought into existence. Thus, if they ever do
reflect on whether they should bring others into existence---rather than
having children without even thinking about whether they should---they
presume that they do them no harm. Better Never to Have Been
challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into
existence is always a serious harm. Although the good things in one's
life make one's life go better than it otherwise would have gone, one
could not have been deprived by their absence if one had not existed.
Those who never exist cannot be deprived. However, by coming into
existence one does suffer quite serious harms that could not have
befallen one had one not come into existence. Drawing on the relevant
psychological literature, the author shows that there are a number of
well-documented features of human psychology that explain why people
systematically overestimate the quality of their lives and why they are
thus resistant to the suggestion that they were seriously harmed by
being brought into existence. The author then argues for the
'anti-natal' view---that it is always wrong to have children---and he
shows that combining the anti-natal view with common pro-choice views
about foetal moral status yield a "pro-death" view about abortion (at
the earlier stages of gestation). Anti-natalism also implies that it
would be better if humanity became extinct. Although counter-intuitive
for many, that implication is defended, not least by showing that it
solves many conundrums of moral theory about population.

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