Moral duty of having children

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Plazma Inferno!, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    I didn't know whether to post this in Philosophy forum or here. Either way, it's rather interesting topic.
    I found this essay by Richard Chappell, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of York.

    He directs moral questions. At people who want to have children: Is it ethical to bring a children into this broken world, where they might suffer – and partake in – various harms and injustices?
    At people who prefer not to have children: Is it "selfish" to refrain from procreating and failing to contribute to the future of humanity – to the building of the next generation?
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  3. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

    I didn't follow your link. Sorry, I'm just too exhausted right now. The value of human life is, in my opinion, immeasurable. It's been my experience that most living creatures want to survive, often fighting for their next breath. For me it's not a philosophical question, but rather one of practicality.

    Morality might play a role where the host environment is so hostile to life that it significantly reduces the chance for survival, but even then people procreate and carry forward.

    I don't believe many people consider the morality of having children while in the throws of sexual conduct. I have no statistics, but I would hazard a guess that most children are not planned.
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    We owe a procreation debt to our ancestors.

    (If "the world is broken"---dumbass---then fix it with every waking breath, every minute of every hour of every day of every year of your life)
    Is that just projection, and indeed it is you that is broken?
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  7. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Quick McGoogle suggests just over one third are not planned - at least in the US.
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No we don't. We have choice. We are free to exercise that choice however we see fit.
  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    The simple fact that you exist means that you are carrying your ancestors genetic material.
    Would you throw that away? Is that your choice?
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    If they have a moral duty to bear children then they also have a moral duty to cull them, for the reproductive benefit of their ancestors.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  11. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I'm gay. Those are the cards that were dealt me. What debt to do I owe my ancestors for procreating?
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    The ancestors didn't rape the women of whatever nation they were invading in order to lay a debt on me. The other half of my ancestors, who fell in love and tried, in spite of all vicissitudes, to have a nice family life, didn't do it to lay a debt on me. In each generation, a good deal of genetic material was 'thrown away' through war, celibacy, slavery, deportation, plagues and famines. They had their own reasons for what they did; their own drives, desires and aspirations.

    They did many things very badly, but they procreated so very well that the human species now far exceeds its ecological niche; has, in fact, suborned or destroyed the habitats of many thousands of other species - with whom we also have ancestors in common.
    To whom do I more - the ancestors whose progeny no longer has the opportunity to procreate or those whose progeny continue to threaten all the others?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    birch likes this.
  13. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It might well be my "choice". But I'm also an advocate of there being no free-will, so if I "choose" not to procreate then it is simply a case of my genetic make-up being a dead-end in the grand scheme of things.
    Whether I carry my ancestor's genetic material or not is of no concern to me. I am who I am, and I can be no one else. That I carry my ancestor's genetic material is of no concern to me in the slightest with regard my choice to procreate. It is my choice. I may have felt some pressure from my ancestors to do so, but that is a matter of their desire to see their lineage sustained rather than my desire to do so. To their credit they never put undue pressure on me, and they understood (no matter how disappointed they might have been) that it would always be my (and my partner's) choice.
    The choice has always been the parents'. There is no "throwing away". There is merely a personal choice between two adults who understand what they are doing and would prefer to be respected for whatever decision they made, just as one would like to respected for the decision one makes.
  14. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Just the simple fact of your existence.
    Assign value as you will.
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    What the ancestors contributed is evident. What isn't clear is what the ancestors would gain from a mini-me or lose by the absence of such a creature.
  16. Bells Staff Member

    Yes. And?

    Throw what away? Their genetic material? Well, even if I wanted to, I can't actually do that until I die.

    But what I have done is use that genetic material to my benefit, as was my choice and as my ancestors, from my parents, to grandparents and so on, would have wanted of me.. And no, that did not involve bearing children. I have two children. I chose to have them. It was not because I wanted to carry on the family line. That did not factor at all in the decision to carry and then have the both of them. What also did not factor in my choice to have my two children, was the thought that they would one day have children of their own. That will be their choice. Their genetic material has buckley's to do with that choice that they will face when they are adults.

    And frankly, your comment is somewhat offensive to people who are unable to have children, for example. Do you consider such persons broken in some way because they are unable to 'carry on their ancestor's genetic material'? Are they now less worthy?

    Of course it is. It should always be a choice.
  17. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Always a choice.
    I would not choose to be the end product of evolution.
    It's an existential thing. "When one chooses: The choice is made for all of mankind."
  18. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Throughout history the Earth has been in turmoil as well as humans who live on it. If you think we have it bad today look back through history and see all the dangerous things humans had to live through. Having children is up to each individual. Today many people think more before they have children but due to their income many choose not to have them. The poor get federal and state subsidies when they have children while the middle class don't receive anything.
  19. Michael 歌舞伎 Valued Senior Member

    I think a lot of humans have the moral duty not to have children. Particularly if they do not have the means to care for those children. For example, I knew of a women who worked in Canberra Australia (Public Servant) who did not have time for a relationship, was getting old, and elected to have IVF. She then elected to give birth by cesarean slightly premature (3 weeks) as this fit her work schedule. She then elected to put her infant into LONG term day 'care' at 6 weeks. This was 7AM - 6PM. This was in actuality only 3 weeks past the supposed 'developmental' age deemed by the Government as legal (6 weeks).

    This person had a moral duty NOT to procreate.

    If you choose to procreate a new consciousness into this Universe, then you should only do so if you have the means to take care of your child. THAT is your moral duty. Pawning a child off on the State is immoral. Procreating to receive more welfare from the State is immoral. Procreating because you feel lonely is selfish and immoral.
  20. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member


    That link is just a perfect example of trolling.

    For one, the environment - ever changing - plays a huge role in perception of morality. You can be a Jihadist and you've given them an excuse to rape as many thirteen year old's as they want. In China or India you can kill your infant daughter for being a burden.
  21. sunnevershines Registered Member

    The chinese would call you a 'broken branch' debt paid...

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