Leben als sinnloses Leid. Versuch einer Einordnung des Antinatalismus von David Benatar im Lichte der Philosophie A. Schopenhauers


Life as Meaningless Suffering: Reflections on David Benatar’s Antinatalism in the Light of the Philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer

The South African philosopher David Benatar argues that not being born is preferable to coming into existence as only the fact of non existing can prevent suffering. From an ethical and pragmatic viewpoint this means that we have to forego procreation. Benatar’s main line of argumentation is the claim of an asymmetry between harms and benefits such that not being born does not withhold benefits from anybody whereas it surely prevents suffering. The present paper will argue that the persuasiveness of Benatar’s claim depends fundamentally upon a premise which in fact remains totally undiscussed by the philosopher himself. This crucial premise is revealed, however, if one analyzes Benatar’s philosophy in the light of the metaphysically grounded anti-natalist ethics of Schopenhauer.

Keywords: Antinatalism, Nihilism, Metaphysics, Suffering, Meaning

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