Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence by David Benatar

Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence

byDavid Benatar

Paperback | August 1, 2008

not yet rated|write a review

Pricing and Purchase Info

$44.50

Earn 223 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores

about

Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least not harmed by being brought into existence. Thus, if they ever do reflect on whether they should bring others into existence---rather than having children without even thinking about whether they should---they presume that they dothem no harm. Better Never to Have Been challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm. Although the good things in one's life make one's life go better than it otherwise would have gone, one could not have been deprived by their absence if onehad not existed. Those who never exist cannot be deprived. However, by coming into existence one does suffer quite serious harms that could not have befallen one had one not come into existence. Drawing on the relevant psychological literature, the author shows that there are a number ofwell-documented features of human psychology that explain why people systematically overestimate the quality of their lives and why they are thus resistant to the suggestion that they were seriously harmed by being brought into existence. The author then argues for the 'anti-natal' view---that it isalways wrong to have children---and he shows that combining the anti-natal view with common pro-choice views about foetal moral status yield a 'pro-death' view about abortion (at the earlier stages of gestation). Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct. Althoughcounter-intuitive for many, that implication is defended, not least by showing that it solves many conundrums of moral theory about population.

About The Author

David Benatar is currently Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy Department at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He received his Ph.D. from that university, did post-doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1993 to 1995, and was Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, from 1995 ...
Life, Death, and Meaning
Life, Death, and Meaning

by David Benatar

$67.99$85.00

Available for download

Not available in stores

Debating Procreation: Is It Wrong to Reproduce?
Debating Procreation: Is It Wrong to Reproduce?

by David Benatar

$13.59$16.99

Available for download

Not available in stores

Shop this author

Details & Specs

Title:Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into ExistenceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.55 inPublished:August 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199549265

ISBN - 13:9780199549269

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Why coming into existence is always a harm3. How bad is coming into existence?4. Having Children: The Anti-Natal View5. Abortion: The 'Pro-Death' View6. Population and Extinction7. Conclusion