So Why Not Do Us All A Favor?

I was browsing through the Oxford University Press philosophy catalog, and I came across this description of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence by David Benatar:
Better Never to Have Been argues for a number of related, highly provocative, views: (1) Coming into existence is always a serious harm. (2) It is always wrong to have children. (3) It is wrong not to abort fetuses at the earlier stages of gestation. (4) It would be better if, as a result of there being no new people, humanity became extinct.
It's difficult to know whether the guy's just angling for a chance to get himself interviewed by Bill Maher, but the description raises some rather delicious possibilities. If it's always a "serious harm" when a new human comes into existence, perhaps the elimination of one of these harmful beings--say, David Benatar--would be a serious boon. One wonders whether David Benatar practices what he preaches: if it is wrong not to abort fetuses, perhaps there is a duty to abort them oneself by force when one finds women stubbornly attempting to carry their fetuses to term. If David Benatar is not out there right now poking pregnant women in the stomach then he's a hypocrite.

While I can't agree that it would be better if humanity as a whole became extinct, books like this make me heartily agree that it would be better if certain elements of humanity became extinct. Sadly, my own Weltanschauung prevents me from working to bring about such an end.

Comments

Mark said…
Ah, finally. A true nihilist :)
DimBulb said…
If you ever lose your "Weltanschauung" let me know; I have a suggested hit list. It begins in Hollywood and ends in Washington.
And of course folks like Benatar depend on your Weltanschauung for their protection.

If this is a tenure book for Benatar, I would vote for denial in hopes that he removes himself from the problematic situation of taking up space.
Scott Carson said…
There's a review of Benatar's book at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:

http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=9983
Kepha said…
Isn't his hypocrisy justified in that he has to spread the word!
Scott Carson said…
Oh, he's spreading something all right, and pretty thick, too, by the looks of it....
Darwin said…
Adding new meaning to the observation that you simply "can't make this stuff up."

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