, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 361-384

On the Value of Coming into Existence

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that coming into existence can benefit (or harm) aperson. My argument incorporates the comparative claim that existence canbe better (or worse) for a person than never existing. Since these claimsare highly controversial, I consider and reject a number of objectionswhich threaten them. These objections raise various semantic, logical,metaphysical and value-theoretical issues. I then suggest that there is animportant sense in which it can harm (or benefit) a person not to comeinto existence. Again, I consider and reject some objections. Finally, Ibriefly consider what the conclusions reached in this paper imply for ourmoral obligations to possible future people.