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On the Value of Coming into Existence

Nils Holtug
The Journal of Ethics
Vol. 5, No. 4 (2001), pp. 361-384
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25115705
Page Count: 24
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On the Value of Coming into Existence
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Abstract

In this paper I argue that coming into existence can benefit (or harm) a person. My argument incorporates the comparative claim that existence can be better (or worse) for a person than never existing. Since these claims are highly controversial, I consider and reject a number of objections which threaten them. These objections raise various semantic, logical, metaphysical and value-theoretical issues. I then suggest that there is an important sense in which it can harm (or benefit) a person not to come into existence. Again, I consider and reject some objections. Finally, I briefly consider what the conclusions reached in this paper imply for our moral obligations to possible future people.

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