Pessimism and procreation


*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


The pessimistic hypothesis is the hypothesis that life is bad for us, in the sense that we are worse off for having come into existence. Suppose this hypothesis turns out to be correct — existence turns out to be more of a burden than a gift. A natural next thought is that we should stop having children. But I contend that this is a mistake; procreation would often be permissible even if the pessimistic hypothesis turned out to be correct. Roughly, this is because we are often in a position to know that future people will approve of having been created, and their approval will not be inappropriate even if they are worse off for having been created. And our respect for the attitudes of future people can permit us to create them.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2023

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