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Friday, January 10th 2020
Fri, Jan 10th 2020

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-2MichaelStJules12d This is a summary of the argument for the procreation asymmetry here and in the comments [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/2BWQ4NrCEP7a4vzaW/defending-the-procreation-asymmetry-with-conditional] , especially this comment [https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/2BWQ4NrCEP7a4vzaW/defending-the-procreation-asymmetry-with-conditional#PGDtoFMvysYLwbS8f] , which also looks further at the case of bringing someone into existence with a good life. This is essentially Johann Frick's argument [https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/jfrick/files/conditional_reasons_and_the_procreation_asymmetry_v10.pdf] , reframed. The starting claim is that your ethical reasons are in some sense conditional on the existence of individuals, and the asymmetry between existence and nonexistence can lead to the procreation asymmetry. 1. Choosing to not bring someone into existence, all else equal, is a "stable solution", something you would not regret and you would not wish you had done otherwise on ethical grounds, since that individual doesn't exist in that outcome to give you a reason to change your mind or wish you had. The individual who doesn't come to exist won't be wronged, since they won't exist, so no actual individual will be wronged. 2. Choosing to bring someone into existence with a bad life, all else equal, is not a "stable solution", because that individual will exist in that outcome to give you a reason to wish you had not brought them into existence in the first place. That reason is conditional on their existence. They will be wronged, since they will exist, so an actual individual will be wronged. Doing things you know you would never regret ethically (1) is ethically rational. Doing things you know you would regret and never be glad for ethically (2) is ethically irrational. So not bringing someone into existence, all else equal, is ethically rational, while bringing them into existence with a bad life, all else equal, is ethically irrational. This i