Life, Procreation, and Transcendence: Toward an Ethic for the Future of Humanity

Full Name: 
Dr Asheel Singh

Anti-natalism is the view that it is (almost) always wrong to bring people into existence. This view is most famously defended by David Benatar. I attempt to answer the following question in this thesis: If we are to take the badness of extinction seriously, are there conditions under which procreation may still be permissible, despite the fact that it (currently) involves the creation of beings who will suffer—conditions Benatar and other anti-natalists have either overlooked or under-explored? My approach is unique relative to other discussions of Benatar, in the sense that I grant that his arguments are strong, and that procreation is indeed morally problematic. But I deny that procreation is wrong all things considered, because, as I discuss in depth in this thesis, there are some morally relevant things he does not consider. Specifically, I introduce unexplored non-welfarist (dignity, meaning in life) and welfarist (transhumanism) considerations to the natal debate. The strategy I adopt undercuts many of the anti-natal prescriptions Benatar thinks necessarily follow from his arguments for the pro tanto moral wrongness of procreation, and also apply to other forms of anti-natalism.