1. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    08 Jun '10 11:06
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
  2. Cape Town
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    08 Jun '10 11:211 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    The rule is oversimplified.
    It should be: The unnecessary and avoidable infliction of harm is generally morally wrong, and therefore to be avoided.
    The harm that necessarily results from the birth of a new person could be seen as unavoidable or necessary or both.

    The original formulation of the phrase would also suggest that we immediately euthanase everyone (as life in general could be said to always entail nontrivial harm.)
  3. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    08 Jun '10 12:06
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The rule is oversimplified.
    It should be: The unnecessary and avoidable infliction of harm is generally morally wrong, and therefore to be avoided.
    The harm that necessarily results from the birth of a new person could be seen as unavoidable or necessary or both.

    The original formulation of the phrase would also suggest that we immediately euthanase everyone (as life in general could be said to always entail nontrivial harm.)
    OK. It's the original 'moral imperative not to procreate' conclusion that interests me. What's your assessment of that?
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    08 Jun '10 12:24
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    he moved from a "generally" to a "always".

    he doesn't proves that procreation isn't one of the cases not covered by the "generally" moral wrong to inflict harm.
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    08 Jun '10 12:26
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    OK. It's the original 'moral imperative not to procreate' conclusion that interests me. What's your assessment of that?
    well, if the premise is flawed, the conclusion doesn't stand either. he needs to find new reasons to have "moral imperative not to procreate" stand.
  6. Cape Town
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    08 Jun '10 12:41
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    OK. It's the original 'moral imperative not to procreate' conclusion that interests me. What's your assessment of that?
    I think that it is flawed because the benefits might outweigh the downsides. It certainly isn't a foregone conclusion.
    Having said that, I think that people who have lots of children but can't afford to feed them and otherwise care for them properly are morally wrong. But even that argument is not so easy to make, as how well you care for your children tends to be relative.
  7. Standard memberPalynka
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    08 Jun '10 13:10
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    What is nontrivial harm and in what way is that a necessary trait of life?
  8. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    08 Jun '10 13:22
    Originally posted by Palynka
    What is nontrivial harm and in what way is that a necessary trait of life?
    Presumably pain and suffering.
  9. Territories Unknown
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    08 Jun '10 13:46
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think that it is flawed because the benefits might outweigh the downsides. It certainly isn't a foregone conclusion.
    Having said that, I think that people who have lots of children but can't afford to feed them and otherwise care for them properly are morally wrong. But even that argument is not so easy to make, as how well you care for your children tends to be relative.
    Is that an 'odds are' conjecture, or 'in light of the slightest possibility' conjecture? At what point do you concede that it would have been better for a person to have never been born?
  10. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    09 Jun '10 06:06
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    I see too many people going with the flow and having kids just cause their mates did.
    Get in touch with your self. Find out your own disposition toward life and if you are disposed to have children,if so, then thats great. To decide to have children based on jealousy or some other negative reason is potentionally harmful to everyone- especially the prospective baby coming into the world.
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    09 Jun '10 07:52
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    This argument doesn't seem to flow very well. Let's say you even started with a stronger premise: say, that the infliction of harm is wrong and to be avoided at all costs. Then let's say you have a second premise that bringing a new person into existence will entail that at least some measure of harm results. How are we supposed to conclude from these there is a moral imperative not to procreate? Presumably, that might follow if the bringing about of something that also entails some measure of harm constitutes infliction of harm. But that does not seem to square with intuition. Infliction of harm would tend to indicate the bringing about of harm with intent, as if the bringing about of harm is an end to itself; whereas the bringing about of something that happens to entail some harm does not because it is fully consistent with such harm being just collateral damage. So there is an intuition, at least to me, that "infliction of harm" suggests something about such harm being the object of or material to the motivations involved whereas just bringing about something that happens to also entail harm (even if this entailment is known) does not. One could say that if you take action to bring about X, knowing full well that this promises to also happen to bring about Y, then going ahead with the bringing about of X constitutes infliction of Y. But that doesn't seem correct to me. Why should two adults who are committed to loving their newborn and attending appropriately to its interests, despite knowing that even this loving environment will bring some measure of undesired harm to it, think that what they have done constitutes "infliction of harm"?

    The argument also would not work even if we removed the connotations attached to "infliction" of harm. Suppose that the first premise is that the bringing about of harm is generally wrong and to be avoided. Then the second premise is, as before, bringing a new person into existence will entail that at least some measure of harm results. These also do not seem to warrant the conclusion that there it is a moral imperative not to procreate. That the bringing about of harm is generally wrong and to be avoided indicates there are standing reasons against doing things that would conduce to harm. But supposing the harm involved amounts to collateral damage, then it is an open question if what you are actually intending to achieve carries even greater reasons with more practical clout.
  12. Donationbbarr
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    09 Jun '10 07:58
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    If you are interested in answering the question of the conditions under which it is reasonable to have a child, perhaps it is best to start with clear cases. Under what general conditions would it be clearly cruel, or callous, or egregiously self-absorbed to procreate? Harm may certainly have something to do with this, but it is extremely unlikely that that is the sole determining factor here, and even less likely that any simple rule of the sort proposed would capture even some of our intuitions about such matters.
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    09 Jun '10 08:36
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    To paraphrase David Benatar: the infliction of harm is generally morally wrong and therefore to be avoided; the birth of a new person always entails nontrivial harm to that person; therefore there exists a moral imperative not to procreate.

    What do you think?
    You can't make an omellette if you don't exist.
  14. Cape Town
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    09 Jun '10 09:09
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Is that an 'odds are' conjecture, or 'in light of the slightest possibility' conjecture? At what point do you concede that it would have been better for a person to have never been born?
    I don't think that is an easy question to answer, nor is it the question I was addressing.
    If the answer is 'never', then does it become everyones moral imperative to have as many children as possible?
  15. Standard memberPalynka
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    09 Jun '10 10:232 edits
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Presumably pain and suffering.
    Are those necessary? Suffering certainly isn't and I'd argue that any pain said to be necessary is actually trivial/mild/marginal.
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