Essay about David benatar thought
David Benatar argues that death is bad for the one who dies, basically for 3 reasons 1) Death deprives one of the goods one would have had had he not died. 2) Death annihilates us completely & forever. 3) We have an interest in continuing to exist that is thwarted by death.
About the deprivation of good…
It is of course true that death deprives one of good one would have had if one had not died, however applying Benatar’s own logic that “absent pleasures are “not bad” unless there is somebody for whom this is deprivation” I think deprived goods wouldn’t be “bad” but merely “not bad” because once one is dead one no longer exists to miss those goods. I don’t understand why we can’t apply this same logic to the “deprived goods” too.
If we apply Benatar’s logic of “absent pain” to the bads(suffering or pains) that one will be spared from once one is dead that will make Epicureans’ argument even stronger.
Ofcourse I am not denying that annihilation is bad, however, again applying Benatar’s own logic that “absent pain is good even if there is no one to enjoy that good” we may reach to the conclusion that annihilation is “not bad” (because though annihilation is bad, once dead one no longer exists to experience the badness of annihilation or death) INSTEAD OF “good” because annihilation is not the kind of bad that pain or suffering is.
About the interests in continuing to exist…
I think this rule can’t apply everybody, especially those whose lives are so bad that they have reached to the conclusion their lives are not worth continuing anymore. Such people don’t have any interest in continuing to exist. However every life is not so bad and therefore sure, many of us have have interests in continuing to exist and death thwarts those interests. However I don’t understand how that would be “bad” for one once one has ceased to exist. Again, applying Benatar’s own logic something which is believed to be “bad” would be turned into “not bad” after one’s death because after death one no longer exists to experience that bad or badness.
If my all arguments above are correct, then Epicureans are right about their position that death is not bad for the one who is dead.
“But chief among the pressures to propagate is this: in order to formally integrate into a society one must offer it a blood sacrifice. As David Benatar makes clear in Better Never to Have Been, all procreators have dirty hands, in both a moral and ethical sense” (Thomas Ligotti)
In Colombia we rarely hear the term antinatalism, whereas we are already a little more familiar with the term child-free. The latter simply refers to a lifestyle, namely that of not wanting to become parents. The reasons for this can be many, from wanting to focus one’s energies on one’s career to not wanting to pass on genetic diseases and disliking children.
Antinatalism, on the other hand, is a real philosophical position and whose thesis is the attribution of a negative value to birth. The types of antinatalism are different, however, the main ones are: misanthropic antinatalism, philanthropic antinatalism and ecological antinatalism.
Misanthropic antinatalism is simple; it is a direct consequence of the hatred, disgust and lack of trust one feels toward humanity. It is the “extreme” version of misanthropy, the one according to which society is so sick and the bearer of pain that it does not deserve to continue to exist.
In the opposite case, that is, the philanthropic case, attention is drawn to two things that are inevitable for humans: suffering and death. To procreate is considered immoral because to give life is to expose a person to disaster, poverty, disease and evil.
Thomas Ligotti in “The Conspiracy Against the Human Race” talks about the “optimists,” that is, those who live unconscious lives, reproduce, build churches and nations. He considers them the “conspirators” who do not want us to realize that humanity is destined for extinction.
South African philosopher David Benatar has worked out what he calls the “Asymmetry of pleasure and pain,” i.e.: a scenario A (existing) in which the presence of pain is bad and the presence of pleasure is good, while in scenario B (not existing) the absence of pain is good and the absence of pleasure is not bad. In simple words: if you do not exist, you cannot feel the lack of pleasure, but if you exist, you will have to endure pain.
David Benatar explains that if we regret not having children, it is a regret related only to ourselves and we do not regret that someone has been deprived of existence, on the other hand, having the regret of begetting a child with an unhappy life also affects another person. Benatar knows that the masses do not think that life is so bad, so much so that they call this phenomenon “pollyannism” (from Eleanor Potter’s Pollyanna), which is the convincing ourselves that our lives are not so bad, based on comparing ourselves with those who are worse off. So, when deciding to bring a child into the world, one does not take into account a range of hardships and sufferings (large or small) that every human being will face, such as serious physical or mental illness. Above all, one does not take into account the one certainty, which is death, that step we will all inevitably have to face, and which many would not want.
Ecological anti-natalism argues that we should not reproduce because our species is harmful to planet Earth. It is estimated that not having children contributes far more to reducing carbon emissions than all other alternatives combined (including recycling, not using cars, choosing a diet without meat or meat products). Yet there are more than seven billion people in the world, and by 2050 we could reach ten billion.
There is a curious, anti-natalist ecologist movement called the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT), whose motto is “may we Live Long and Die Out.” The Volunteers are keen to specify that they are not misanthropes, but people seeking an alternative to man-made disasters, and they claim that our extinction will save millions of plant and animal species that are in danger of disappearing.
In essence, this all seems strange; we are used to thinking that sooner or later everyone will have to face the experience of parenthood (and pregnancy, in the case of women). It is not so easy to talk about anti-natalism in a country where Fertility Day is normal, an embarrassing campaign where they tried to convince young people to reproduce as soon as possible, ignoring personal problems and choices. A campaign that offends everyone, from those who do not want children to those who want them but cannot, through those who prefer to wait.
This is a world where there are very long debates about surrogacy, where it is normal to turn immediately to assisted reproduction if one cannot have children, since it is convenient both in terms of timing and money (or, it is simple self-centeredness) to that beautiful human gesture that is adoption. Incidentally, it is bizarre to think that a child-free person should never intend to adopt a child, while an antinatalist might.