Harm or benefit

Harm or benefit

  • Submitted By: Yen-Le
  • Date Submitted: 05/14/2016 5:58 AM
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Words: 2079
  • Page: 9

Yen Le
Topic 1: Harming and Benefiting by Creating
Phil 207G Meaning of Life – Valentina Urbanek
Due Date: Revision May 16th, 2016


Whether bringing a person into the world is a harm or a benefit? Whether it’s true that the person only benefited when their lives are worth living? Or all of our existence is a harm no matter what. Those questions draw attention to Derek Parfit and David Benatar, two philosophers who write articles about the topic of whether creating a life is harm or benefit. Derek Parfit is a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University. (Life, Death, and Meaning 448); he argues that the life worth living is a beneficial life so that life can be benefited to us. A different philosophy called David Benatar who is a professor of philosophy at the University of Cape Town. (Life, Death, and Meaning 447), he disproves with Parfit and says that coming to life is always a harm so that life can't be benefited to us. They both have understandable and reasonable arguments until they meet the non-identity problem. None of them can really answer to the problem of the wrong doing in this case.
To discuss the topic whether bringing a life to the world is better or worse for someone, a philosopher Derek Parfit has written an excerpt calls “Whether causing to exist can benefit this person” in the book Life, Death, and Meaning believes that bringing someone into the world with the life worth living can be benefit them. Parfit brings up two different arguments to refute two claims. First of all, he disproves the claim that says something, life, cannot be better or worse than nothing by saying “…life of a certain kind may be judged to be either good or bad – either worth living, or worth not living. If a certain kind of life is good, it is better than nothing. If it is bad, it is worse than nothing.” (Parfit 120) This statement is applied in the situation if and only if when a person is already exist and probably at the...

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