Archard (David)
Source: Luper - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death, 2014, Chapter 14
Paper - Abstract

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Editor’s Introduction1

  1. Chapter 14 discusses several issues that arise in connection with procreation or bringing people into existence. The main issue is whether it is wrong to create people.
  2. One line of thought is this: suppose that if we create someone her life will be worth living but just barely so - that is, what is good in her life more than offsets the bad, but not by much. When we focus on how low such a person's prospects are, it might seem objectionable to bring her into the world. But is it? Were we not to bring her into being, she would not exist at all; for her, the only alternative to a marginally good existence is none at all. This suggests that it is rarely wrong to procreate, since most people would prefer even a marginally good existence to none at all.
  3. On another way of looking at things, however, procreation seems to be entirely unacceptable. David Benatar asks us to consider a merely possible person named Fred. We do not think that Fred is harmed by not being made actual, even if it means he will miss out on a very good life. However, we do think that Fred is harmed by being made actual if it means that he will endure a very bad life. Hence we should maintain Fred's status quo as merely possible, which is unobjectionable, for fear of subjecting him to a bad existence, which is objectionable, and the same goes for any possible person.


Book Chapter, but pdf downloaded from Cambridge Core. Filed in zip with full book.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Luper (Steven) - The Cambridge Companion to Life and Death: Introduction".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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