We Can Make Rational Decisions to Have a Child: On the Grounds for Rejecting L.A. Paul’s Arguments

In Richard Vernon Sarah Hannan & Samantha Brennan (eds.), Permissible Progeny. Oxford University Press (2015)
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Abstract

L.A. Paul has recently argued that, on the standard model of rationality, individuals cannot make rational decisions about whether to have a child or not. In this paper, I show that Paul’s arguments do not plausibly demonstrate that the standard model of rationality precludes rational decisions to have a child. I argue that there are phenomenal and non-phenomenal values that can be used to determine the value that having a child will have for us and, in turn, that can be used to make rational decisions about whether to have a child or not. I also argue that we can have an approximate idea of what it is like for us to have a child, even before we have a child and that, on the standard model, this is sufficient to make rational decisions to have a child.

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Meena Krishnamurthy
Queen's University

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