The global warming confronts us with an existential threat. But does it matter if we survive?
You may think that only a madman would think that it settles the same. Yet philosophers through the whole of our history, argued that it does not play any role.
First, we have the pessimists. It begins with Socrates. Then he should empty the giftbägaren he sees it as no big deal. Death, he argues, is better than the human existence. Not even perserkungen have it better than Socrates, steeped in dreamless sleep. A Swedish philosopher who snuddat at the same thought is Ingemar Hedenius. And my colleague, Lars Bergström quotes him with approval in his current book ”The murky nooks”:
”... the life of men on earth, in history, in the present and in the future, contains so gruesome condition and the events, that nothing of the good, which on the face thereof appear, nor the sum of all good has a such a weight, that it can compensate for this infernally evil, so that life on the whole could be considered as anything other than an evil institution in the universe.”
that's the reasoning in the following way. It gets difficult for the last generation. But such will it be. The important thing is that the end will be as painless as possible. When it occurs, is immaterial. After that, there is no one who can complain. Morality relating to existing individuals ' relationships to each other. Any obligation to put people to the world, we have not. According to the finlandssvenske the philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright is a ”pipe snuff” if humanity succumbs. In an argument we had, he asked if excuse the expression but held on to the perception.
finally, we have ekosoferna. They care about the species, but ignore individuals. But in this case, humanity is a problem rather than a resource. We are killing off other species on the conveyer belt. How much better it would be without us. The Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess came close to this position:
”under his human life, and human cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. Under his non-human life requires such a decrease.”
We can make up for the shortfall in the quality of life of those who live through to see that so many more may exist. This has the philosopher Derek Parfit called the ”abominable” conclusion
wrong, I think. The species has no value as such. It took Arne Naess miss out. The important thing is the individuals. Morality is not just a question of how we relate to each other. Morality is also about what kind of world we are creating. It took von Wright missing out. We have an obligation to maximize the happiness. We should put the new lucky individuals to the world. The more the merrier. And there are good reasons to believe that our future, if we get cut off, will cause an excess of happiness over unhappiness. It took Hedenius miss out.
We meet sometimes the perception that in order to mitigate the climate crisis should stop putting children into the world. The reasoning goes well together with the ekosofiska, but also with the idea that the individuals we bring into the world can't complain (when they do not exist). But we should create as much happiness as possible, the reasoning questionable.
Sure, we can momentarily be for many. We are for the many if it means that we take the space from future generations. But our orbs can free feed the population of ten billion, against which we are on the way. The important thing is how we choose to live. And we continue to live as we do, we are already far too many.
is controversial. If I am right, we should all the time become more of our orbs, and keep running as long as possible, generation after generation. We should go for quantity even if it is over the average happiness. We can compensate for the shortfall in the quality of life of those who live through to see that so many more may exist. This has the philosopher Derek Parfit called the ”abominable” conclusion.
I believe that it is what we should do. The conclusion is not hideous, but correct. But many think differently. How should the reasoning to avoid the view that it does not matter equally if we survive on our globe?
I think it is equally difficult to answer the question to save humanity from the impending climate cataclysm.
Torbjörn Tännsjö is professor of practical philosophy, and the recent book ”Etikprofessorn” where the vile conclusion discussed