Antinatalism

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by Argonia, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. Argonia

    Argonia Happy go licky

    Does anyone have any suggestions for introductory reading on antinatalism? I am interested in it but know basically zero at the moment.
     
  2. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Warning: posts may cause vasovagal presyncope

    It’s not something I’ve followed up as a separate topic. It’s an aspect of some religions, overtly in Buddhism and certain Christian sects. And it’s an undercurrent in others. As well as in ecological primitivism. But as a topic on its own, no, I have no suggestions.

    Unless you mean ante natalism. In which case, you’ll probably join a class for your first child, but thereafter be more blasé.
     
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  3. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Peter Wessel Zappfe wrote a bit about the topic, but I'm unsure if the relevant texts have been translated into English.
     
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  4. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

  5. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

  6. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    In its modern secular form its really not worth looking into. No social relevance or influence and its really superficial and easy to find pretty basic faults with.

    Crossover with elements of the 4chan alt right, it's mainly over privileged yanks looking for philosophical justifications for their misanthropy.

    I won't recommend any reading cos it's really not worthy of study. And I say that as someone who usually believes in the principle that everything is worth reading even if just to see the argument first hand as its proponent presents it and why it's wrong.
     
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  7. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    What's wrong with a pregnant woman sitting on a yoga mat with her partner and practicing breathing techniques? :confused:
     
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  8. JimW

    JimW 支那暗杀团

    Do any other South African provinces have specific movements opposing them?
     
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  9. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    Most of the arguments I looked come from a fairly compassionate viewpoint.
    It's kind of how I feel on very down days.

    Depressed people show a more accurate view of reality in tests - guess it comes down to whether you prefer to be happy and deluded.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    It's more than that, though I can see how it might appeal to the depressed. There are ludicrous attempts to quantify happiness and suffering that essentially define happiness out of existence.

    It's playschool stuff.
     
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  11. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    Can you point me towards any?
     
  12. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    I'm now spending time discussing something I said wasn't even worth reading about :D
     
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  13. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    David Benatar does it. Can't remember where and I'm not reading him again :D
     
  14. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    <ponders the crossover with veganism>
     
  15. hermitical

    hermitical Well-Known Member

    I'm coming in cold on this so please forgive me.

    What prompted that comment?
     
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  16. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    The philosophy chimes with things a couple of vegan mates have said to me (one in particular), and there have also been comments from some vegans on urban generally that have been a little suggestive of it at times.

    While pondering, I had a bit of a poke round the internet and there is enough of a connection for there to be an overlap between the two, with some quite robust debate between the non-overlapping sectors, and especially robust debate between the overlapping sector and non anti-natalist vegans. It's hard to put numbers to these things, but some discussion popped up where some parents were talking about feeling unwelcome in their local vegan community. That might just be something isolated and/or localised.

    There is an interesting application of feminism in the overlapping sector too.

    The positing of suffering as the chief source of (negative) moral value is common to both systems, but I haven't decided how much to take from that yet.
     
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  17. Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson Well-Known Member

    I met David Benatar a few years ago. He asked me if I was an anti-natalist. I tactically answered 'well, I don't have any kids'. Immediately noting my dodge he asked a follow up: 'is that on purpose or by accident?' I have to admit, I think that's my favourite question I've ever been asked.
     
  18. Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there's a significant overlap - most anti-natalists are vegan but most vegans are not anti-natalist (ime).
     
  19. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    Would have been the perfect time to wind him up with a made-up story about your McCann-like personal tragedy.
     
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  20. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    Thanks for the frank answer, though - I was expecting some flames to be coming my way.
    The skew in the Venn diagram that you describe is not what I would have expected, though it is philosophically coherent.

    Antinatalism is interesting in that its uncompromising moral position somehow manages to swing it round in the direction of nihilism.
     
  21. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

  22. Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson Well-Known Member

    This is Benatar's 'asymmetry argument' represented by the quadrant below:



    [​IMG]

    Basically he argues that for an existing being it is bad to suffer and good to have pleasure, but for a non-existent being it is good (counter-factually) that they are not suffering and merely 'not bad' they are not experiencing pleasure. Because of this asymmetry, coming into existence is always a harm (with the exception of a purely hypothetical case of a life that involves 0% suffering).

    I agree the argument doesn't work. This guy does a pretty decent job of showing why imo.

    A stronger anti-natalist argument imo is to make the simpler claim that there is a general asymmetry between suffering and pleasure, i.e. the presence of suffering is more bad than the presence of pleasure is good (call this the 'simple asymmetry argument'). However, this argument does not actually arrive at the conclusion that 'it is always a harm to come into existence' because even if there is an asymmetry between pleasure and suffering, there could in principle be lives with enough of the former to compensate for the latter. Nonetheless, if the simple asymmetry claim is correct it does make it harder to justify bringing sentient life into existence (and the more significant we take the asymmetry to be, the more challenging it is).

    Well done, you've unearthed them grimmest depths of the anti-natalist milieu :thumbs:
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  23. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    So is it basically the belief that we humans should shut up shop and leave the world for the squirrels and mosquitoes, etc?
     
  24. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    It goes a little further in that we’ll be dooming the squirrels and mosquitoes to suffering if we did that.
     
  25. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    So it's just "life is pain" writ large?
     
  26. 8ball

    8ball Considerably more oppressed than yow

    More like "life is chiefly characterised by pain, and it would be better if it wasn't there".
     
  27. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    Sounds more like low seratonin than a philosophy.
     
  28. mojo pixy

    mojo pixy unquantifiable hazards

    Man hands on misery to man, it deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can, and don't have any kids yourself.


    But as philosophy.
     
  29. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman it was already like that when I got here

    As I recall there was a poster on these boards a few years back who was into this. Not seen him post for a while - he came across as deep green misanthrope but not sure how he'd characterise his own politics/philosophy. @drjon I think his handle was.
     
  30. NoXion

    NoXion Eat leaden death, demon...

    I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this kind of philosophy. Life absolutely does involve pain, unless we eventually find a way to engineer bodies that work differently.

    But so what? Speaking for myself, I generally find that the good things in life outweigh the bad, even if I think it could be so much better. So even putting my survival instincts aside, I have plenty of reasons to carry on living thanks very much. I didn't ask to be born, but now that I am here I'm going to make the most of it.

    As for the whole having kids aspect... While I have indefinitely recused myself from the Herculean task of raising another human being, I'm very much in favour of supporting those people who do have what it takes.

    As a human being myself, I have a vested interest in ensuring that society continues to tick over in at least somewhat vaguely functional manner, and part of that involves creating new generations of people.

    It seems to me to be the kind of philosophy dreamt up by people who never got over their edgy teenage phase of life.
     

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