Antinatalism (continued)

[Excerpt from my ANTINATALISMUS, translated into English by Dr Alexander Reynolds]

Antinatalism, Dysteleological or Nihilistic

A distinction must be drawn between, on the one hand, a teleological ecological antinatalism (the actions and the very presence of Man lead to the decline and the destruction of seemingly teleologically-structured eco-systems) and, on the other, a genuinely dysteleological antinatalism. According to the latter an end would need to be put to procreation because the existence of each individual, as well as of the species as a whole, is without sense or purpose. Such a dysteleological antinatalism is a position one might have expected to see propounded, for example, by writers and philosophers of “the absurd” like Albert Camus. No really substantial moves, however, were in fact made in this direction by these writers.

Antinatalism, Fundamentalist

Every discomfort, however minor and momentary, that is experienced by a living being is more than such a living being can reasonably be expected to accept and to live with; and every life, however rich and pleasant, must necessarily contain such moments of discomfort; every life, therefore, is, in its essence, bad and it is morally incumbent on us to call none into existence.


Antinatalism, Theolatric

For Philipp Mainländer the created cosmos is a roundabout path that God was obliged to take in order to reach his actual goal: non-being. On this account, human beings who refrain from procreation would be practicing a form of theolatry or “service to God”, since they hasten thereby the achievement of the end-goal of a cosmic process conceived of as culminating in the non-being of God.[1]


Antinatalism Hedonistic

“Hedonistic antinatalism” advances a view whereby procreation is to be forgone not in view of the inevitable suffering that will be undergone by the children thereby brought into the world but rather in view of the numerous hardships that parenthood can involve for parents themselves. An example of a work advancing this position is Corinne Maier’s 2007 book “NO KID. 40 Reasons Not to Have Children“, which stood at the top of the best-seller lists in France for many weeks. Its arguments can be said to be prefigured in Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata. Maier, however, does not develop the logic of these arguments to the point of a general reflection on whether it might not be morally requisite to raise the suggested injunction on procreation to the status of a universal commandment (i.e. that of promoting the extinction of the human race).


Antinatalism, Historically-Biographically Informed

Historically-biographically informed antinatalism extrapolates from history as we have hitherto known it, and from the individual biographies which make it up, to form an idea of the likely future and concludes that the catastrophes, both for the species and for the individuals who compose it, which this idea leads us to expect  are such that we cannot reasonably be expected to want to live with them.

[1] For more details here see Akerma, The Ebbing Away of Humanity (2000), Chapter 12: Mainländer: Ebbing Away as Service to God.