Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sort of Another One on Singer

Not exactly. More an opinion about population control vis-a-vis environmental concerns. But Singer is mentioned, and the tension existing between Singer's ACTUAL position versus Benatar's is addressed in an indirect way.

14 comments:

Compoverde said...

Hey everyone, I just wanted you guys to check out Askphilosophers.org. Here there are a panel of professional philosophers that give feedback to various philosophical inquiries. I posted a long question regarding the morality of procreation. I am interested in their response. I mentioned Benatar and his argument and Schopenhauer.. I am guessing they will give smug pro-natalist views. Either that or they will not see my question as "fit" to post. I will update you guys with any feedback they give. Inevitabley it will be anti-antinatalism I am sure. Whatever they do write, I hope there is a chance to make a rebuttal because I hate when smug, arrogant "professional" philosophers who have to justify their professions ambiguitiy by being arrogant and smug, get the last word!

CM said...

Link?

Unrelated, but I recently read a charming paper by Saul Smilansky titled "Is There a Moral Obligation to Have Children?" (he concludes that there is, at least for most people in the developed world). Not new, but it was mentioned in BNtHB, so I was curious. Take lots of antiemetics before reading.

Shadow said...

Uh... I just noticed that...

Anyone knows why there´s breast health counter on the right down side of the blog?

timcooijmans said...

Compoverde,

I browsed around that site a bit and found this question: http://www.askphilosophers.org/question/2674

The second panelist actually mentions Benatar's book, but... he claims "there is an obligation to create lives that are good", and the justification of this claim is that this obligation servers "to put in the balance with the obligation not to create lives that are bad".

Augh!!1

Compoverde said...

timcooijams, what a tragic response. And to think that there these people are claiming to be from a point of authority. What was he trying to say that the obligation to not have bad lives is balanced with an obligation to have good lives? Did he not get the gist of the Benatar argument that there is no obligation to create good in potential children that do not experience deprivation?

Constant said...

Oh... my... God... I would very much like to be able to say that this Smilansky paper is singularly pathetic. Unfortunately, such bad philosophy occurs a little too often to be called singular...

This paper has so many unexamined premises (both analytical and empirical ones) that it can only be described as a conditional one (and good philosophers make clear that they're presenting a conditional argument in the abstract and the first paragraph of a paper), and with this amout of premises, it's an absurdly uninteresting specimen of this otherwise perfectly respectable kind of argument.

Compoverde said...

This is ridiculous. Nevermind about that "askaphilosopher.org" website. I have heard a terrible response to a great question on there. As I was filing through the section on "children" in the website there was a question by someone on December 6, 2007 that said:

If you choose to bring a child into the world, you are necessarily condemning the child to suffer, in at least the following ways, if not more: (1) The child will experience physical pain. (2) No matter how hard you try, you will foist your own failings and fears onto the child, which will directly and indirectly cause the child great suffering and psychic pain. (3) The child will have to go through the difficult and painful process of figuring out how s/he fits (or doesn't) into a society with values that are -- for lack of a better general descriptive term -- pretty warped. (4) The child is likely to have excruciatingly-painful adolescent experiences figuring out the mating system and social cues of humans. If you want evidence for the magnitude of this pain, ask any adult to remember in detail one of these adolescent experiences without cringing. (5) Unless the child believes in God or the equivalent, s/he will live every day of his/her life knowing that any meaning to life is self-generated and death is impending and final. (6) If the child lives long enough, s/he will have to watch people s/he loves deeply, die. (7) The child will her/himself get old, get sick, be lonely, and die. Finally, the decision to have children is clearly completely self-interested. The child does not yet exist, and therefore has no say in the matter. Therefore, it would seem to me that that decision to have children is completely morally reprehensible. Can you offer some explanation for how/why the vast majority of the population feels that it is morally okay to have kids? I simply cannot fathom how anyone could possibly choose to inflict all of that pain on another human being."

All great points, and that person should be contributing to this blog. Now look at this terrible, uninsightful and naive response by a so-called philosopher:

Compoverde said...

Crappy Response continued...

David Brink on December 20, 2007
I think parenthood is a huge responsibility that is not always taken seriously enough, with the result that many people who are unable or unwilling to live up to the demands of good parenting have children and don't do well by them. We require education and licensure to drive a car yet leave unregulated the far more complex and arguably more consequential task of parenting. I am not defending state regulation of parenting (though I think it is a topic worth serious discussion), but I am claiming that parenting is morally serious business and that adults don't have a right to reproduce without being willing and able to be good parents or provide good parents.

But you're not worried about cases involving bad parents. You seem to think that having children is always in principle "reprehensible," because despite the best efforts of good parents, children suffer, both as children and, later, as adults. Your position curiously seems to look at only one side of life's ledger, viz. the pain and other harms that many of us suffer. But this overlooks the positive side of the ledger, for instance, simple pleasures of the young and old, the joys of friendship, the pride of hard won accomplishments, the transporting experience of passionate creative activities. No doubt, some people are unlucky and their lives are filled with more pain and harm than pleasure and value. It's debateable how many are in this position and whether it would have been better if they had not been born. But I think that many would assume that most people lead lives worth living in which the goods of life outweigh the bads. Indeed, one of your concerns is the cost of living lives in the shadow of death. But consider the alternative. Surely, life is a condition of the universe containing value. It's true, our lives would be better still if they contained less suffering, but they are lives worth living nonetheless. That doesn't make it obligatory to have children, but it would undermine the argument that it's always wrong to have children, because of life's pains and evils.

Compoverde said...

philosopher's terrible response continued...

David Brink on December 20, 2007
I think parenthood is a huge responsibility that is not always taken seriously enough, with the result that many people who are unable or unwilling to live up to the demands of good parenting have children and don't do well by them. We require education and licensure to drive a car yet leave unregulated the far more complex and arguably more consequential task of parenting. I am not defending state regulation of parenting (though I think it is a topic worth serious discussion), but I am claiming that parenting is morally serious business and that adults don't have a right to reproduce without being willing and able to be good parents or provide good parents.

But you're not worried about cases involving bad parents. You seem to think that having children is always in principle "reprehensible," because despite the best efforts of good parents, children suffer, both as children and, later, as adults. Your position curiously seems to look at only one side of life's ledger, viz. the pain and other harms that many of us suffer. But this overlooks the positive side of the ledger, for instance, simple pleasures of the young and old, the joys of friendship, the pride of hard won accomplishments, the transporting experience of passionate creative activities. No doubt, some people are unlucky and their lives are filled with more pain and harm than pleasure and value. It's debateable how many are in this position and whether it would have been better if they had not been born. But I think that many would assume that most people lead lives worth living in which the goods of life outweigh the bads. Indeed, one of your concerns is the cost of living lives in the shadow of death. But consider the alternative. Surely, life is a condition of the universe containing value. It's true, our lives would be better still if they contained less suffering, but they are lives worth living nonetheless. That doesn't make it obligatory to have children, but it would undermine the argument that it's always wrong to have children, because of life's pains and evils.

Anonymous said...

From "The Polygamous Sex" by Esther Vilar:

"Children don't "love" their parents, they are merely attached to them: they need them, and sometimes they even like them. When father and mother have the knack of clothing their instinctive and essentially self-gratifying nurturing of their brood in the image of self-sacrificial devotion, they may enjoy as a benefit the child's guilt and gratitude, as well. But this is not love, nor should it be: if children returned the love of their parents in full measure, life would come to a standstill, because they would never want to leave home. Children by and large tend to leave their parents at the earliest opportunity, to go looking for their own love objects (proteges). Many never return home, or do so only out of a sense of duty.

Children can feel real love for their parents only as these gradually become old and helpless. When physical debility, intellectual inferiority, and resemblance characterize the parent, it becomes possible for the grown son to love his father as a genuine protege. At this point, however, the father's love has come to an end. Between protector and protege there is always only one who loves: always the protector. The protege accepts whoever will be his provider. If another, better provider comes along, he will be accepted, without any great emotional investment; the most to be expected is a certain loyalty. For what is involved is only the protege's instinct of self-preservation, a necessarily asocial instinct. If this were fixated upon a specific individual, and that individual perished, so would the protege."

Shadow said...

Ok... being ignored here...

Hello... anyone?

metamorphhh said...

Shadow:

'Cause I believe in healthy breasts. Big, bouncy, brazen, bounteous, bodacious, bold, beautiful, buxom bazongas.

Well, and because the ad came with the counter.

Compoverde said...

The blog seems dead lately. Anyone have anything to say?

metamorphhh said...

Compoverde:

We're all getting our second wind :)