more from John Stuart Mill

Single Idea 7225

[catalogued under 24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 3. Abortion]

Full Idea

To bestow a life on someone which may be either a curse or a blessing, unless the being on whom it is to be bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being.

Gist of Idea

It is a crime to create a being who lacks the ordinary chances of a desirable existence


John Stuart Mill (On Liberty [1857], Ch.5)

Book Reference

Mill,John Stuart: 'Utilitarianism (including On Liberty etc)', ed/tr. Warnock,Mary [Fontana 1962], p.242

A Reaction

This is the standard utilitarian attitude to engendering people. I think I have to agree. It is no argument against this to say that we value people with poor life prospects, once they have arrived. Altruism towards children may disguise selfish parents.