Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Eugenics and antinatalism a blog attempting to create "a viable and just political philosophy consistent with likely truths of human biology and evolution."


Anti-natalism is the belief that life should not be brought into existence. David Benatar's book, "Better To Never Have Been", sets out the case masterfully, and I recommend it unreservedly.

As we know, existence is not a property. Essentially, Benatar makes the point that to bring someone into existence to experience a life wholly of pleasure does not benefit them. If you hadn't brought them into existence, they would not mind, because they wouldn't exist. On the other hand, bringing someone into an existence where they will experience pain, does them harm. There is an asymmetry between pleasure and suffering. If a potential person does not exist, their potential pleasure is not a good reason to create them, whereas their potential pain is a good reason not to create them. Everyone's lives are almost certain to contain at least some pain/suffering, therefore no one should be brought into existence.

(Benatar considers the idea that some people should be brought into existence because their suffering is outweighed by the pleasure they bring to others ("using people as means, not ends"). He proposes a "phased extinction".)


One fact that Benatar considers is that people don't really appreciate how bad their lives are. We notice that our lives are much better than disabled people. But we too lack many abilities. We don't notice how bad our lives are compared to what they could be, if, say, we had the ability to fly.

In, Deogolwulf makes the point that Charles Darwin was a eugenicist: he correctly thought that superior races should inherit the earth. Insights from the world of antinatalism support this. If we can have some influence over which beings are brought into existence -- and we do -- we should use this influence for eugenic purposes, to bring in to existence beings with superior abilities.

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