The Misanthropic Argument for Anti-natalism

Paper by David Benatar, published on September 1, 2015 in Oxford University Press

This chapter advances a misanthropic moral argument for anti-natalism. According to this argument, we have a presumptive duty to desist from bringing into existence new members of species that cause vast amounts of harm. Extensive evidence is provided to show that human nature has a dark side that leads humans to cause vast amounts of pain, suffering, and death to other humans and to non-human animals. Some of this harm is mediated by destruction of the environment. The resultant presumptive duty we have not to create new humans is very rarely if ever defeated. Not all misanthropy is about humans’ moral failings. The chapter is followed by an appendix, in which aesthetic considerations against procreating are advanced.

Oxford University Press Sarah Hannan, Samantha Brennan, Richard Vernon (eds.): Permissible Progeny? The Morality of Procreation and Parenting, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015, 34–64