Sunday, September 7, 2008

Utilitarian Logic

Peter Singer didn't write this book, but the logic of Singer's utilitarianism leads where David Benatar takes it. If our response to existence is reducible to pleasure and pain, and existence inevitably involves pain, then one must entertain the possibility that it is better never to have lived at all. While putting oneself out of existence might be painful, however - if not the deed itself, the thought of one's own death once one is alive - one ought to avoid bringing other people into existence, thus preventing them from the inevitable pain they will experience. Hence, we are morally justified - indeed, required - to abort any pregnancies we might be involved in having engendered. The author of the book - Better Never to Have Been - urges us to adopt a pro-death view.

Exerpt:

"Each one of us was harmed by being brought into existence. That harm is not negligible, because the quality of even the best lives is very bad-and considerably worse than most people recognise it to be. Although it is obviously too late to prevent our own existence, it is not too late to prevent the existence of future possible people. Creating new people is thus morally problematic."

Modern philosophy's trajectory is that of human extinction. Europe is simply following the logic of that philosophy to its logical conclusion. Lest we think "the culture wars" are a silly distraction of the electoral season, we should take note that the fate of humanity literally hangs in the balance.

2 comments:

Polistra said...

"the quality of even the best lives is very bad-and considerably worse than most people recognise it to be."


What monstrous arrogance!

You piddling little mortals may enjoy your life, but I, the Supremely Intelligent Philosopher-King, know better. I say your life is bad, therefore your life is bad.

I have spoken. There is nothing more to say.

Kevin in WI said...

I believe the author should lead by example.