Voluntary and Exploitative Fallacy

From the fact that most of us, at almost every point in time and in almost every life-situation (>Readiness for Misery) have, qua >Vitality, the bionomically-induced wish to go on living – i.e. from the fact that we are biologically driven – there is drawn first one erroneous conclusion, namely that new, other human beings ought to begin to live, and secondly a further erroneous conclusion, namely that procreation requires no justification:  

Since I believe that I know it to be true of myself that I would wish to go on living even in misery and that I would accept such misery rather than putting an end to my own life, I conclude that I can pass on life to others with a good conscience. But whoever thinks like this overlooks the fact that misery is decidedly something from which we try to escape. Analogous to this “voluntary fallacy” is the “exploitative fallacy”, which runs:

Since exploited human beings prefer to persist in their enslaved, subservient, exploited existence rather than take their own lives, exploitation must be something that is morally defensible.

Bernard Williams (1929–2003) – biological radicals weigh heavier than reason

Williams brings to expression here the idea that the rational reasons for persisting in our practices of procreation are so weak that, were this question to be decided by reason alone, humanity would long since have died out. “Humanity would quite certainly die out if the wish to live were not stronger than any reasons perceived to speak in favour of human beings’ remaining alive.” (Bernard Williams, retranslated from German edition)

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