Monday, June 6, 2011

Questions and thought experiments in antinatalism

The following is a non-exhaustive list of questions intended to either support the conclusions of antinatalism or to develop a line of questioning that might. Sources are given to some of the questions posed by others whenever I saw them presented by those others elsewhere. There are more to be found but they elude my memory presently.

Experiments related to consent and deontology
Is it morally acceptable to, without their consent, infect someone with a disease whose treatment provides some degree of pleasure to the patient?
If not, can one consistently claim that the creation of people is morally acceptable in light of the fact that issues analogous to those above e.g. satiation of hunger and thirst, the satisfaction of sexual desires etc. apply in any instance of human creation?

Is it morally acceptable to create people who want to be raped/enslaved/used in a way detrimental to themselves yet beneficial for (some) others?
If not, is it consistent to claim that the creation of people is acceptable on the basis that people generally desire their continued existence despite that desire coming at a personal cost.

Is it morally acceptable to use a hypothetical device that grants powers of mind control on people to, among other things, make them agree that in hindsight their being controlled was a good thing?
If not, is one's retroactive gladness at having being born a sufficient condition to ensure the acceptability of procreation given that they're effectively subordinate to the whims of their own genetics (which strongly instill a desire for one's continued existence)?

Experiments related to hedonism
Is a world in which everyone is hooked up to a matrix like reality where they experience maximum bliss preferable to this one?
Is it desirable to create arbitrarily large numbers of people simply to hook them up to this bliss world i.e. pleasure farms?

Is it morally acceptable to have tay sachs children etc.?
If not, can one reasonably assert that procreation in the regular case is permissible despite that judgement relying on arbitrary qualia metrics?

(Sister Y) Is the pleasure a heroin addict derives from heroin sufficient to conclude that the heroin is good for them?

(Benatar) Is it regrettable that there are no people living on Mars or similarly elsewhere indulging in life?

(Polerius) You wake up at a certain party, unsure of how you got there. Everyone seems to be having fun. However during your time there you observe that the party-goers are periodically abducted by thugs and return to the party sometime later battered and bruised whence they continue partying. Additionally, every so often some of the party-goers disappear never to be seen again, their destiny unknown. Your fate at the party with regards to the previous is uncertain. You know a friend who has been continuously sleeping for years prior to the party. Do you wake them up to come join the party?
(I'm sure my inelegant presentation of the above metaphor above could be improved/extended to other scenarios)

Misc/to do
Does there exist an axiomatic foundation of morality that's both intuitive to most and that implies antinatalism?
What mainstream ethical theories can be used to imply the conclusions of antinatalism?

If anyone has either more to contribute or any theoretical strengthening of the above scenarios I'd be glad to hear them. I conjecture that in any argument against antinatalism, there should exist a corresponding experiment to highlight the weaknesses of that argument. Note that many of the above questions also extend to suicide ethics.