David Benatar

Professor, Author

37

Who is David Benatar?

David Benatar is professor of philosophy and head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. He is best known for his advocacy of antinatalism in his book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, in which he argues that coming into existence is a serious harm, regardless of the feelings of the existing being once brought into existence, and that, as a consequence, it is always morally wrong to create more sentient beings.

Benatar argues from the uncontroversial premise that pain is, in itself, a bad thing. Nevertheless, he offers qualified defenses of the corporal punishment of children and the circumcision of male infants. He is the author of a series of widely cited papers in medical ethics, including "Between Prophylaxis and Child Abuse" and "A Pain in the Fetus: Toward Ending Confusion about Fetal Pain".

Benatar's work has often been associated with contemporary philosophies of nihilism and pessimism. In an interview with True Detective creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto, Benatar's Better Never to Have Been is cited as an influence on the TV series, along with Ray Brassier's Nihil Unbound, Thomas Ligotti's The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, Jim Crawford's Confessions of an Antinatalist, and Eugene Thacker's In The Dust of This Planet.

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Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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