martedì 12 aprile 2016

Where Are the Pro-Life Utilitarians?Bryan Caplan

  • While I'm not a utilitarian, the utilitarian case against abortion seems very strong.  Consider: Even if a pregnant woman deeply resents her pregnancy, she is only pregnant for nine months.  How could this outweigh the lifetime's worth of utility the unwanted child gets to enjoy if he's carried to term? 
  • 1 Considerazione empirica. Almost everyone is glad to be alive.  The unwanted infant may have a below-average quality of life, but below-average is usually excellent nonetheless.
  • 2. Considerazione empirica. There is a long waiting list - hence excess demand - to adopt healthy infants, so birth mothers need not raise their unwanted children.
  • 3. Considerazione empirica. Due to the endowment effect, unwanted children often become wanted by their birth mother once they're born - as many would-be adoptive parents discover to their sorrow.
  • 4. Considerazione empirica. Women who just miss the legal cutoff for abortion seem to quickly recover emotionally.  Pregnant women who think "A baby will ruin my life" are, on average, factually mistaken
  • Difesa utilitaria. Argue that the utility of the unborn counts for nothing - at least until the fetus starts feeling pleasure and pain.  Convenient.  But once you accept the core utilitarian intuition - that the existence of pleasure is good, and the existence of pain is bad - the creation of creatures who will feel a lot more pleasure than pain seems like a great good.  Picture an uninhabited world capable of supporting happy lives.  How could a utilitarian not want to populate it?