Journal of Controversial Ideas

(ISSN: 2694-5991) Open Access Journal
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Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 5; doi: 10.35995/jci04010005

Anti-Natalism and the Asymmetry

1 University of York, York, UK
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Received: 11 Aug 2023 / Revised: 19 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 30 Mar 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
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What should we think about starting good lives? On one view starting such lives is required. On another this is forbidden. There’s a third view, occupying a middle position. And according to what Jeff McMahan calls the Asymmetry, starting such lives is permitted but not required. Most of us will incline to this third view, finding the first to be somewhat, the second highly controversial. But I argue that this middle position is untenable, and, further, that the first position is weaker, the second stronger than it initially appears. This isn’t, however, to support David Benatar’s well-known Anti-Natalist stance. I explain how our versions of this view differ, and show how mine is the one to favour. Of critical importance throughout is an appeal to personhood.
Keywords: Anti-Natalism; the Asymmetry; persons; animals; procreation; desires
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
Belshaw, C. Anti-Natalism and the Asymmetry. Controversial_Ideas 2024, 4, 5.
Belshaw C. Anti-Natalism and the Asymmetry. Journal of Controversial Ideas. 2024; 4(1):5.
Belshaw, Christopher. 2024. "Anti-Natalism and the Asymmetry." Controversial_Ideas 4, no. 1: 5.
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