16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable thought provoking read,
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This review is from: Better Never to Have Been: The Harm Of Coming Into Existence (Paperback)
This book is nicely written and his argument is easy to understand fairly early in.
His argument rests on an intuitive asymmetry between the 'good' that is the 'absence of pain', and the 'not bad(ness)' (or neutralness) that is the 'absence of pleasure'. His argument also turns on the distinction between two ways of talking about 'a life worth living'. We can (and ought to) separate our ideas on 'a life worth starting' from 'a life worth continuing'. This is very important. Where as some lives may be worth continuing (he agrees most are) NO life is worth starting. If i come down with a painful condition i may consider my life to still be worth continuing. However if i am faced with the choice whether to create a being who has such a condition it is As all life contains guaranteed harm the interests of a conceivable person are best served by not creating them.
I am unsure the problem some of the other commentators have with this. This is a good argument.
I think where one might want to attack his position, however, will be by rejecting the assumed asymmetry. But, as Benatar himself notes (near the end), such will be difficult to do without spawning other counter intuitive results. I would probably want to still go down this line - though i think his conclusion is right
Either way, i highly recommend this book