A New Argument for Anti-Natalism

Paper by Christopher Belshaw, published on January 1, 2012 in South African Journal of Philosophy

Consider the view that coming into existence is bad for us. Can we hold this and yet deny that ceasing to exist would be good for us? I argue that we can. First, many animals have lives such that they would be better off not existing. Second, if persons and babies are distinct things then the same is true of babies. Third, even if persons and babies are not distinct things – rather they are phases that human beings go through – still it is bad for babies that they come into existence. So it was bad for us to come into existence. But most of us now enjoy worthwhile lives. So it would be bad for us, now, to cease to exist