Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Project of Philosophy and Contemporary Society, Advanced Research Center for Human Sciences, Waseda University


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Asymmetry, Suffering, and Coping
: Running Alongside Benatar

Andrew Oberg

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.9, No.2 (November 2019):1-21




David Benatar has presented and defended a powerful argument for adopting an anti-natalist stance, avoiding procreation, and embracing the extinction of humanity. His is work that deserves to be taken seriously and responded to with caution and care. In the below we will attempt such an undertaking, focusing on two aspects of Benatar’s thought in particular: asymmetry and suffering. Although we will find weaknesses in Benatar’s analyses on asymmetry and suffering, we will not thereby seek to reject the anti-natalist conclusions that Benatar draws from them, yet nor will we conversely seek to accept them. Instead we will leave the issue open and move into some parallel thoughts on the topic of coping, on the “Now what?” and the “…and so…” that each of us who find ourselves alive inevitably face. In the hard light of life as we come to know it, what are any of us to do?

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