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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #61
Ibrahim
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I discovered an interesting thinker by the name of Julio Cabrera today. He's an antinatalist who is strongly influenced by Heidegger. He argues that procreation is morally wrong because of the intrinsic nature of human beings. Unlike Benatar's defense of antinatalism, Cabrera's main argument involves certain ontological claims most analytic philosophers are unwilling to discuss.

Borrowing from Heidegger's ontological difference, he distinguishes punctual death (PD) from structural death (SD). Punctual death refers to death as an empirical phenomenon. Structural death is the actual process of dying itself. PD is the consummation or complete realization of SD, i.e., it represents the whole purpose of SD. The problem, according to Cabrera, is that SD serves as the very basis of human life. Mortality, in other words, is an intrinsic feature of birth. Ethically speaking, no good(s) discovered within the process of structural death can counterbalance the evil nature of the process itself.

Procreation is inherently wrong because it means forcing someone to suffer through structural death.

Julio Cabrera: NEGATIVE ETHICS
Now, i really shouldn't be here ( not in the anti-natalist sense but in the sense that other matters must be attended to ), but briefly:

If it is true that death is concealed in life because life makes death inescapable, then the same dependency also exists the other way, thereby reversing the argument & bringing forth the positive from the negative.

& i am also curious to know what the point is of using absolute terms like good and evil within the context of a worldview that apparently, by its own admission, has no standard by which to measure them.

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
-Shaykh Ibn Al 'Arabi
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #62
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by EmptyAutomata View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I discovered an interesting thinker by the name of Julio Cabrera today. He's an antinatalist who is strongly influenced by Heidegger. He argues that procreation is morally wrong because of the intrinsic nature of human beings. Unlike Benatar's defense of antinatalism, Cabrera's main argument involves certain ontological claims most analytic philosophers are unwilling to discuss.

Borrowing from Heidegger's ontological difference, he distinguishes punctual death (PD) from structural death (SD). Punctual death refers to death as an empirical phenomenon. Structural death is the actual process of dying itself. PD is the consummation or complete realization of SD, i.e., it represents the whole purpose of SD. The problem, according to Cabrera, is that SD serves as the very basis of human life. Mortality, in other words, is an intrinsic feature of birth. Ethically speaking, no good(s) discovered within the process of structural death can counterbalance the evil nature of the process itself.

Procreation is inherently wrong because it means forcing someone to suffer through structural death.

Julio Cabrera: NEGATIVE ETHICS
Excellent contribution Mr. Veech. I didn't know anything about Cabrera and his works, but Negative Ethics seems to be a really interesting reading, even more if he maintains different ontological views on this subject. This also remind me of something that I read once about Deleuze's Philosophy on how the relation between the becoming of becoming creates the Event, and how this Event can expose the human condition as a plague who never cease to "becoming" in relation to the reality. It was a strange relecture of Deleuze -and some Negarestani's ideas mixed with some reinterpretations of Lovecraft's tales - exposed by an unknown person. Sadly, the writings are only in spanish. Anyways, I'm going to leave them here just to clarify all the different visions that can be found related to the antinatalism dilemma.

Considerations about the Notion of Becoming
https://xenogeddon.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/2/
Cabrera seems more up my alley than Benatar. However, the problem with someone like Cabrera is that his ethics, based on what I know, is grounded in a branch of philosophy (phenomenology and existentialism) which is a bit more obscure than it needs to be for someone interested in antinatalism. I can already tell that Benatar is much more approachable than Cabrera, which is something of a virtue. The latter will probably only appeal to those who are already interested in Continental philosophy.

I still think Ligotti's CATHR is the best available text concerned (in part) with antinatalism. It's intelligently written, accessible, and entertaining. The simple fact is that Ligotti is much better at expressing himself than pretty much any academic. My only "complaint" is that he didn't cut the book in half and devote the rest of his creative energies to another collection of short stories.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #63
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I discovered an interesting thinker by the name of Julio Cabrera today. He's an antinatalist who is strongly influenced by Heidegger. He argues that procreation is morally wrong because of the intrinsic nature of human beings. Unlike Benatar's defense of antinatalism, Cabrera's main argument involves certain ontological claims most analytic philosophers are unwilling to discuss.

Borrowing from Heidegger's ontological difference, he distinguishes punctual death (PD) from structural death (SD). Punctual death refers to death as an empirical phenomenon. Structural death is the actual process of dying itself. PD is the consummation or complete realization of SD, i.e., it represents the whole purpose of SD. The problem, according to Cabrera, is that SD serves as the very basis of human life. Mortality, in other words, is an intrinsic feature of birth. Ethically speaking, no good(s) discovered within the process of structural death can counterbalance the evil nature of the process itself.

Procreation is inherently wrong because it means forcing someone to suffer through structural death.

Julio Cabrera: NEGATIVE ETHICS
Now, i really shouldn't be here ( not in the anti-natalist sense but in the sense that other matters must be attended to ), but briefly:

If it is true that death is concealed in life because life makes death inescapable, then the same dependency also exists the other way, thereby reversing the argument & bringing forth the positive from the negative.

& i am also curious to know what the point is of using absolute terms like good and evil within the context of a worldview that apparently, by its own admission, has no standard by which to measure them.
I'm going to be completely honest with you, Ibrahim. The last problem you mentioned is the elephant in the room for an antinatalist. Someone here who is sympathetic to the cause of antinatalism can attempt a critical response, but that person will most definitely not be me. But here's how I'm interpreting your question:

"How can an antinatalist (who is also an atheist) explain how human beings are in a position to do what is against their very own nature? Furthermore, how can he or she account for a morality which is inherently hostile towards the closed physical system they belong to?"

You don't even need to mention the problem concerning moral absolutes in order to see that there's a huge problem here. If human beings belong to a closed physical system, then where do they find the necessary resources that enable them to perform something so unnatural? Both Zapffe and Ligotti resort to obscure language when describing consciousness. They call consciousness "paradoxical," not just because it must conceal the truth in order to exist, but because it has the "supernatural" capacity to do so.

One could simply ask how a naturalist (not just an antinatalist) could ever account for moral agency within a closed physical system. If I were a theist, I would drop that one into the lap of a naturalist.

I digress. Basically, an antinatalist is committed to an anti-natural code of ethics while upholding a naturalistic worldview. There is a massive contradiction here. The only possible solution I can see to the problem is that an antinatalist either (1) abandon his or her atheism or (2) propose a different account of nature, one that is more sophisticated than what the sciences tell us.

For now, I cling to antinatalism because of my own personal experience with this thing called "existence." As far as the "rational" foundations of my beliefs are concerned, I'm in the same position as a Christian who cannot explain the mysteries of the Holy Trinity. I'm somewhat okay with this. I believe every worldview eventually leads to some form of absurdity.

I don't know what else to say, Ibrahim. I usually feel competent to address objections, but this one is beyond my limited powers.

EDIT: I'm using the term "closed physical system" to refer to the naturalist and/or antinatalist's belief that the world is governed by only natural causal "laws" studied by modern science.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #64
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
Quote Originally Posted by EmptyAutomata View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I discovered an interesting thinker by the name of Julio Cabrera today. He's an antinatalist who is strongly influenced by Heidegger. He argues that procreation is morally wrong because of the intrinsic nature of human beings. Unlike Benatar's defense of antinatalism, Cabrera's main argument involves certain ontological claims most analytic philosophers are unwilling to discuss.

Borrowing from Heidegger's ontological difference, he distinguishes punctual death (PD) from structural death (SD). Punctual death refers to death as an empirical phenomenon. Structural death is the actual process of dying itself. PD is the consummation or complete realization of SD, i.e., it represents the whole purpose of SD. The problem, according to Cabrera, is that SD serves as the very basis of human life. Mortality, in other words, is an intrinsic feature of birth. Ethically speaking, no good(s) discovered within the process of structural death can counterbalance the evil nature of the process itself.

Procreation is inherently wrong because it means forcing someone to suffer through structural death.

Julio Cabrera: NEGATIVE ETHICS
Excellent contribution Mr. Veech. I didn't know anything about Cabrera and his works, but Negative Ethics seems to be a really interesting reading, even more if he maintains different ontological views on this subject. This also remind me of something that I read once about Deleuze's Philosophy on how the relation between the becoming of becoming creates the Event, and how this Event can expose the human condition as a plague who never cease to "becoming" in relation to the reality. It was a strange relecture of Deleuze -and some Negarestani's ideas mixed with some reinterpretations of Lovecraft's tales - exposed by an unknown person. Sadly, the writings are only in spanish. Anyways, I'm going to leave them here just to clarify all the different visions that can be found related to the antinatalism dilemma.

Considerations about the Notion of Becoming
https://xenogeddon.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/2/
Cabrera seems more up my alley than Benatar. However, the problem with someone like Cabrera is that his ethics, based on what I know, is grounded in a branch of philosophy (phenomenology and existentialism) which is a bit more obscure than it needs to be for someone interested in antinatalism. I can already tell that Benatar is much more approachable than Cabrera, which is something of a virtue. The latter will probably only appeal to those who are already interested in Continental philosophy.

I still think Ligotti's CATHR is the best available text concerned (in part) with antinatalism. It's intelligently written, accessible, and entertaining. The simple fact is that Ligotti is much better at expressing himself than pretty much any academic. My only "complaint" is that he didn't cut the book in half and devote the rest of his creative energies to another collection of short stories.
Unfortunately, most of the relevants figures of Antinatalism tends to be more obscure because of his existential background as you say it before. In fact, I think that's one of the reasons why this ideology remains buried below a dense cloud of social stigmas. Hopefully, Benatar's view is helping to reach the moral problematics and bringing them to many individuals as possible who doesn't share the obscure antinatalism opinion. There's so much misconception but everyday the ethical resolution seems to be growing within the mainstream. Here in Spain, more and more couples are choosing not to have children and adopting them instead. Also, the numbers of sterilizations has increased since the last five years. The principal issue here is still lying on the economic topic but I think that more people are getting concerned about the implications on having children. As I said a few comments before, Antinatalism can be both philantropic or misanthropic, but if one day Antinatalism becomes something significant at a great scale, it won't be by any of our beloved obscure thinkers but those who could demistify the extinction.

Futility arises out of the grim suspicion that, behind the shroud of causality we drape over the world, there is only the indifference of what exists or doesn’t exist; whatever you do ultimately leads to no end, an irrevocable chasm between thought and world.-"Cosmic Pessimism" by Eugene Thacker
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Old 1 Week Ago   #65
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech
Cabrera seems more up my alley than Benatar. However, the problem with someone like Cabrera is that his ethics, based on what I know, is grounded in a branch of philosophy (phenomenology and existentialism) which is a bit more obscure than it needs to be for someone interested in antinatalism. I can already tell that Benatar is much more approachable than Cabrera, which is something of a virtue. The latter will probably only appeal to those who are already interested in Continental philosophy.
"Porque te amo não nascerás!: Nascituri te salutant" ("Because I Love You, You Will Not Be Born!: Nascituri te salutant") seems to be really approachable book, more than "Projeto de Ética Negativa" ("Project of Negative Ethics") and "Crítica de la moral afirmativa: Una reflexión sobre nacimiento, muerte y valor de la vida" ("A critique of affirmative morality (A reflection on death, birth and the value of life)"). In my opinion, the arguments are quite simple, but described in a very interesting way.

Quote Originally Posted by Julio Cabrera
To facilitate the reading of the following text, I present here a brief summary of the three lines: (1) To challenge the usual idea that when giving birth to someone, we are giving something “valuable”; (2) To point to the inevitable “manipulation” of the very act of procreation; (3) To problematize the idea that, if someone could opine, they would ask to be born. Each of the three sections of my work deals with one of these lines. In them we already see what we can understand here by “morality”, according to which it is not correct: (1) to give someone something that we consider to be disvaluable; (2) manipulate them; (3) disrespect their autonomy. I believe these three things happen when we procreate. This philosophical result may lead many people to either extend their moral scruples beyond the usual, or to expose clearly and without hypocrisy how little scrupulous they are willing to be, Or it could lead to a refutation by the absurdity of their own moral worldview." (Porque te amo não nascerás!: Nascituri te salutant, pp. 23-24)
The first chapter of this book can be read on the page below in English:

First chapter of Porque te amo, Não Nascerás! | Misantropia e Melancolia.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #66
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech
Cabrera seems more up my alley than Benatar. However, the problem with someone like Cabrera is that his ethics, based on what I know, is grounded in a branch of philosophy (phenomenology and existentialism) which is a bit more obscure than it needs to be for someone interested in antinatalism. I can already tell that Benatar is much more approachable than Cabrera, which is something of a virtue. The latter will probably only appeal to those who are already interested in Continental philosophy.
"Porque te amo nao nascerás!: Nascituri te salutant" ("Because I Love You, You Will Not Be Born!: Nascituri te salutant") seems to be really approachable book, more than "Projeto de Ética Negativa" ("Project of Negative Ethics") and "Crítica de la moral afirmativa: Una reflexión sobre nacimiento, muerte y valor de la vida" ("A critique of affirmative morality (A reflection on death, birth and the value of life)"). In my opinion, the arguments are quite simple, but described in a very interesting way.

Quote Originally Posted by Julio Cabrera
To facilitate the reading of the following text, I present here a brief summary of the three lines: (1) To challenge the usual idea that when giving birth to someone, we are giving something “valuable”; (2) To point to the inevitable “manipulation” of the very act of procreation; (3) To problematize the idea that, if someone could opine, they would ask to be born. Each of the three sections of my work deals with one of these lines. In them we already see what we can understand here by “morality”, according to which it is not correct: (1) to give someone something that we consider to be disvaluable; (2) manipulate them; (3) disrespect their autonomy. I believe these three things happen when we procreate. This philosophical result may lead many people to either extend their moral scruples beyond the usual, or to expose clearly and without hypocrisy how little scrupulous they are willing to be, Or it could lead to a refutation by the absurdity of their own moral worldview." (Porque te amo nao nascerás!: Nascituri te salutant, pp. 23-24)
The first chapter of this book can be read on the page below in English:

First chapter of Porque te amo, NALo NascerA!s! | Misantropia e Melancolia.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #67
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
I believe every worldview eventually leads to some form of absurdity.
That's one thing I can very much agree with you on, here, Mr. Veech. But I'm not sure what to make of your philosophical arguments against antinatalism, as expressed here. For instance:

Quote
"How can an antinatalist (who is also an atheist) explain how human beings are in a position to do what is against their very own nature? Furthermore, how can he or she account for a morality which is inherently hostile towards the closed physical system they belong to?"
Is that really so difficult? Doesn't mere human intelligence account for the first part? As for the second, I'm not even sure it's true that antinatalism is "inherently hostile" to any physical system, but even so, I don't see the difficulty in trying to account for a morality which sees suffering (and particularly, the imposition of suffering on others) as an evil of sorts, or at least morally objectionable.

Similarly, I'm not quite sure what to make of statements like this one:

Quote
One could simply ask how a naturalist (not just an antinatalist) could ever account for moral agency within a closed physical system. If I were a theist, I would drop that one into the lap of a naturalist.
Maybe it's the "closed physical system" part that throws me, or the question of how you define moral agency. I'm also unsure of the need to account for this moral agency in the first place.

These statements do not lead me to question antinatalism, but they do make me wonder a little about the anti-antinatalist position. Maybe in retrospect it never really made any sense to me, but I just bought into because, really, what choice was there?

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Old 5 Days Ago   #68
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

@ Cannibal Cop

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I assume that human "intelligence" (in this context) is the result of millions of years of genetic mutations. It seems highly unlikely that a morality which self-consciously opposes an organism's primary goal (reproduction) can develop within a closed physical system, a closed system in which survival and reproduction are simply given. The resources don't seem to be available, not without borrowing certain philosophical elements from an alternative source.

It's certainly possible. But we're concerned with probability, not logical consistency.

As far as moral agency is concerned, a closed physical system demands that there are only causal interactions determined by predetermined conditions. Now, one can argue that we don't know said conditions. However, a good scientist will declare that we are permitted to believe those conditions are always already in place. Moral agency implies a sort of radical contingency that defies the kind of determined system the scientist has in mind. In other words, an action's contingency must be a real possibility, not merely a possibility conceived by the human intellect in retrospect.

The ontology behind conventional forms of naturalism is far too poor to account for the very nature of antinatalism. That's what my reason tells me. Of course, I'm entitled to abandon my reason.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 5 Days Ago   #69
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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Plenty of people have foregone having children, so it's difficult for me to see how anti-natalism is contrary to human nature. Even if we adopt the radical stance that all our behavior is due to evolution, there's nothing that stops us from evolving behaviors that could lead to extinction, whether these behaviors are engaging in nuclear war or embracing anti-natalism en masse. I've read somewhere or other that many zoologists believe pandas were going extinct long before humans because they don't breed fast enough to replenish their numbers from accidents, infertility, and non-human predation. Other animals, like Bohol tarsiers, spotted owls, and various lemurs, are so sensitive that relatively minor changes to their habitat stresses them to the point that they'll stop breeding and/or engage in suicidal behavior. Maybe anti-natalism is a perfectly natural reaction to changes in human habitat...

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Re: Anti-Natalism, Can It Really Exist?

Just for the sake of a distinction that I think might help discussion, I think there's a difference between antinatalism as a reaction to environment (as in the possible case of pandas and some humans) and antinatalism as a rational ethical system. To profess the latter one has to endorse some kind of rationality. Something that doesn't trickle down to popular discourse so much is that rationality has more of a tendency to commit one to the existence of immaterial entities. People with naturalist/materialist philosophical viewpoints therefore tend to describe themselves as empiricist rather than rationalist.

It's precisely in this area that many controversies arise. For instance, roughly speaking, empiricists will say: "We can't allow for the existence in themselves of propositions [true-or-false statements], as that contravenes a materialist view and is spooky. We must find some way to naturalise such statements." The rationalist will say: "Go ahead and try, but there's no way of coherently being able to distinguish true from false without independently existing propositions as truth-bearers."

Almost no contemporary philosophers want to commit to 'spooky stuff', because, well, it's spooky, which is why there's a vast amount of hemming and hawing, and labyrinthine circumlocution, around this area. Even those who wish to retain the immaterial entities, in the main, don't want to endorse the existence of an immaterial realm, but for the most part see no choice but at least to endorse the entities, doing their best to minimise the immaterial realm in which such entities subsist (they'll probably, for instance, choose words like 'subsist', instead of 'exist').

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