Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence
"Most people believe that they were either benefitted 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 on 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."--Jacket.
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abortion absence of pleasure absent pleasures animals argue artefacts Arthur Schopenhauer assessment asymmetry avoid better biotic interests bring brought into existence child claim coming into existence conclusion conscious consider counter-intuitive create death defend deny deprivation Derek Parfit desire-fulfilment disability rights Don Marquis duty Epicurean example extra lives Feinberg fetus fetuses fulfilled future future-life happy harm of coming harm principle human extinction Ibid impairments impersonal average view implausible implication inflict Joel Feinberg judgements killing least legal right million mistaken morally relevant interests morally relevant sense negative never existing non-existence non-identity problem objection one’s ovum pain parents people’s lives person-affecting view Pollyanna Principle Pollyannaism population positive potential preferable present-life pro-lifers procreation produce children Professor psychological question Reasons and Persons regret reject repugnant conclusion Scenario serious harm species suffering suggest things view that coming well-being worse worth continuing worth living worth starting X-people