1st Edition

Contemporary Anti-Natalism

Edited By Thaddeus Metz Copyright 2023
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    Given the pain, discomfort, anxiety, heartbreak, and boredom that most humans experience in their lives, is it morally permissible to create them? Some philosophers lately have answered ‘No’, contending that it is wrong to create a new human life when one could avoid doing so, because it would be bad for the one created. This view is known as ‘anti-natalism’. Some contributors to this volume argue that anti-natalism is true because: agents have a prima facie duty to prevent suffering; it is immoral to violate another’s right not to be harmed without having consented to it; and it is a serious wrong to exploit the weakness of a poorly off being to become a biological parent. Others here argue against anti-natalism on the ground, for instance, that many of our lives are not so bad and in fact are quite good and that the logic of anti-natalism absurdly entails pro-mortalism, the view that we should kill off as many people as possible. This book explores these and related issues concerning the evaluative question of how to judge the worthwhileness of lives and the normative question of what basic duties entail for the creation of new lives. Excepting one, all the chapters in this book were originally published in the South African Journal of Philosophy.

    1. Contemporary Anti-Natalism, Featuring Benatar’s Better Never to Have Been

    Thaddeus Metz

    2. Hooray for Babies

    David Spurrett

    3. Are Lives Worth Creating?

    Thaddeus Metz

    4. Better to Be

    David Boonin

    5. Is Having Children Always Wrong?

    Rivka Weinberg

    6. Sick and Healthy: Benatar on the Logic of Value

    Skott Brill

    7. Better No Longer to Be

    Rafe McGregor and Ema Sullivan-Bissett

    8. Life Is Good

    Saul Smilansky

    9. How Best to Prevent Future Persons from Suffering: A Reply to Benatar

    Brooke Alan

    10. Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties

    Gerald Harrison

    11. Furthering the Case for Anti- Natalism: Seana Shiffrin and the Limits of Permissible Harm

    Asheel Singh

    12. A New Argument for Anti- Natalism

    Christopher Belshaw

    13. Every Conceivable Harm: A Further Defence of Anti- Natalism

    David Benatar


    Thaddeus Metz, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pretoria, South Africa is particularly known for his work on philosophical approaches to the meaning of life. His books on the topic include: Meaning in Life; God, Soul and the Meaning of Life; and What Makes a Life Meaningful? A Debate (with Joshua Seachris, Routledge 2023).