Asymmetries in the Value of Existence

Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):126-145 (2019)
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Abstract

According to asymmetric comparativism, it is worse for a person to exist with a miserable life than not to exist, but it is not better for a person to exist with a happy life than not to exist. My aim in this paper is to explain how asymmetric comparativism could possibly be true. My account of asymmetric comparativism begins with a different asymmetry, regarding the (dis)value of early death. I offer an account of this early death asymmetry, appealing to the idea of conditional goods, and generalize it to explain how asymmetric comparativism could possibly be true. I also address the objection that asymmetric comparativism has unacceptably antinatalist implications.

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Jake Nebel
Princeton University

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