Julio Cabrera’s antinatalism.

Julio Cabrera has claimed to have been writing about antinatalism prior to David Benatar’s book Better Never To Have Been. He has published on the Internet a summary of his ethics (he also seems to like to talk about himself in the third person, for some reason).

1. Human life lacks value in its very terminal structure in basically three dimensions of suffering: pain, tedium and moral disqualification of human beings in general. This must discard the usual difference between honesty and dishonesty in moral theories because, given human condition, it is impossible to live a moral life in the strict sense.

2. All positive values are intra-wordly creations and inventions of attitudes and actions; positive values are always reactive (produced against the terminal structure of being) and onerous (paying high prices or damaging other’s projects). This must deny the usual idea that a human life consists of a mixture of pains and pleasures. Infact, pleasures are reactive and onerous, intrinsically connected to suffering and subordinated to them.

3. Consequently, procreation is in any case morally problematic, even the so-called “responsible procreations” (and perhaps them specially), because it consists inproviding to others the terminal structure of being and its consequent pain, tediumand moral disqualification, and the mere possibility of inventing reactive and onerous positive values to support terminality. This must contest the usual idea thatbirth is a gift and procreation the paradigm of an ethical action.

4. A second corollary concerns suicide: beyond the impossibility of suicide intraditional metaphysical philosophy, and keeping distance from vulgar pessimism establishing suicide as a sort of necessity, Cabrera’s negative ethics sustains suicide as a plausible possibility of human life, no more immoral than human acts in general (given the general moral disqualification) and with more chances of being amoral act than many other actions, provided that suicide succeeds in defeating the powerful inclination to preserve one’s own life in any circumstances, which is the source of non consideration of
other people’s interests. All this must defeat the usual idea of suicide as the worst of human sins.

8 thoughts on “Julio Cabrera’s antinatalism.

  1. Michael March 7, 2015 at 02:38

    Full Book in English!

    A Critique of Affirmative Morality

    (A reflection on Death, Birth and the Value of Life)

    PDF is located here:


  2. Brian L March 11, 2015 at 11:59

    Al Ma’ari was writing about antinatalism in the 11th century. Kinda beat out both of them. ;)

    • Francois Tremblay March 11, 2015 at 16:02

      Yea sure, no idea is new, I get that…

      • Brian L March 11, 2015 at 17:57

        Wanted to mention it, in case the two got in a farting contest lol :)

  3. darthbarracuda March 31, 2016 at 17:22

    Cabrera has an interesting criticism of Benatar’s asymmetry, located here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8lRhEwzaxOlWW84SGMxOU01V1k/view

    • Francois Tremblay March 31, 2016 at 18:28

      I read his argument against the Asymmetry twice and I still don’t get it. I get what his basic point is but I don’t see how he proves it.

  4. darthbarracuda April 6, 2016 at 15:17

    Cabrera’s argument against Benatar is that Benatar abuses counterfactuals (if-then). Benatar utilizes counterfactuals in regards to the pain of a non-existent entity, but then does not use the counterfactuals in regard to the pleasure of a non-existent entity. Cabrera is thus arguing that if we are to use counterfactuals in this particular set-up, then there is no asymmetry and it is in fact a symmetry, because the lack of pleasure would be a bad thing in the same way the lack of pain is a good thing.

    I don’t see how we can’t tweak Benatar’s argument a bit, though. We could say that allowing non-suffering to continue is good, while allowing non-pleasure is neutral. Although I am not confident that this is avoids the counterfactual abuse.

    In my opinion, seeing just how much confusion the asymmetry has brought along with it, I think there are better arguments for antinatalism. Namely, thou shalt not harm without consent. Or unapologetically describing the horrors that exist on the planet. Or perhaps arguing that existence, as Cabrera argues, necessitates the violation of certain rights of other people, like their liberties and preferences, and that existence is a bland alternative to potential.

    Regardless of your views on Cabrera’s arguments, I think it is undeniable that he is a philosopher who has not been given enough respect. He is modest in his writing and does not attack in the vitriolic manner you often see elsewhere in the AN community.

    • Francois Tremblay April 6, 2016 at 15:54

      But the lack of pleasure is not a bad thing, because there is no one that is being deprived of it.

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