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Lecture 1

PHIL 1320 Lecture 1: PHILOSOPHY 9.5.17

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Philosophy PHIL 1320
Jonathan Surovell

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Anti-natalism: the view that we should not reproduce
What anti-natalism is not: it is not the thesis that we should reduce humans through a
means of violence, suicide; it does not advocate alcoholism or drug abuse; it is not
nihilism (the thesis that states nothing matters)
The “Philanthropic Route” to anti-natalism: life is filled with suffering; we ought not
create more suffering; we ought not create more life
A pro-natalist objection: 1) life is filled with suffering; 2) we ought not create more
suffering; 3) we ought not create more life
Objection: Most lives are good overall, so 1 is false
Three points of Benatar’s response to pro-natalist objection: 1) even if you’re an optimist,
you’ll underestimate how bad life really is. 2) there’s a whole lot more suffering than just
what you see before you. 3) procreating yields all sorts of unanticipated and
unpreventable risks, so you’re inflicting pain on this being whether you mean to or not.
Benatar’s last point is the most convincing because it is the most pragmatic
People have an optimism bias
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