Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Better to exist: a reply to Benatar
  1. S D Baum
  1. Seth D Baum, Department of Geography, 302 Walker Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA; sbaum{at}


A recent exchange on Benatar’s book Better never to have been between Doyal and Benatar discusses Benatar’s bold claim that people should not be brought into existence. Here, I expand the discussion of original position that the exchange focused on. I also discuss the asymmetries, between benefit and harm and between existence and non-existence, upon which Benatar’s bold claim rests. In both discussions, I show how Benatar’s bold claim can be rejected.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • i Expected utility maximisation reduces to classical utilitarianism for circumstances in which no uncertainty exists.

  • ii A similar discussion of maximin is found on page 173 of Leslie’s The end of the world.6

Linked Articles