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The Risk of a LifetimeHow, When, and Why Procreation May Be Permissible$
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Rivka Weinberg

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190243708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190243708.001.0001

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Is Procreation (Almost) Always Right?

Is Procreation (Almost) Always Right?

(p.81) Chapter 3 Is Procreation (Almost) Always Right?
The Risk of a Lifetime

Rivka Weinberg

Oxford University Press

The chapter argues that, as a narrow person-affecting problem, the non-identity problem doesn't target modern ethical theories since none of them (including Kantian, consequentialist, and virtue ethics) are narrow person-affecting theories. Further, the chapter dissolves the non-identity problem, demonstrating that it's a mistake resulting from considering existence itself (which everyone has and nobody needs), as a good bequeathed by one's ancestors and capable of outweighing life burdens. Existence is a precondition of being subject to benefits and burdens. If we don't count existence itself as a benefit, then we don't have a non-identity problem. Finally, deontology solves the non-identity problem by pointing at a particular person wronged by procreative negligence (deontology doesn't require a person's first-personal interests be set back in order to claim a wrong). Deontology can consider an act wrong because of the way the people involved treat each other, regardless of the consequences.

Keywords:   non-identity, non-identity problem, non-identity principle, merely possible people, future people, narrow person-affecting, wide person-affecting

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