Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Better Never to Have BeenThe Harm of Coming into Existence$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Benatar

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296422

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296422.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 26 April 2019

How Bad is Coming into Existence?

How Bad is Coming into Existence?

Chapter:
(p.60) 3 How Bad is Coming into Existence?
Source:
Better Never to Have Been
Author(s):

David Benatar (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296422.003.0003

This chapter discusses the magnitude of the harm of coming into existence, arguing that it is a very great harm. Drawing on the relevant psychological literature, it is shown that there are a number of well-documented features of human psychology that explain why people systematically overestimate the quality of their lives. These features are ‘pollyannaism’, adaptation (otherwise known as habituation or accommodation), and comparison (with other people's lives). The chapter discusses three well-known views about the quality of life: hedonistic, desire-fulfilment, and objective-list theories. It argues that irrespective of which of these views one chooses, the quality of even the best lives is very bad. The chapter concludes by outlining just how much suffering there is in the world.

Keywords:   pollyannaism, adaptation, habituation, accommodation, comparison, hedonism, desire-fulfilment, objective-list, suffering

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .