David Benatar

David Benatar

David Benatar is professor of philosophy and head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa.[1] He is best known for his advocacy of antinatalism in his book Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, in which he argues that coming into existence is a serious harm, regardless of the feelings of the existing being once brought into existence, and that, as a consequence, it is always morally wrong to create more sentient beings.[2]

Benatar has spoken out in favour of the corporal punishment of children[3] and routine circumcision of male infants.[4] He is the author of a series of widely cited papers in medical ethics, including "Between Prophylaxis and Child Abuse" (The American Journal of Bioethics) and "A Pain in the Fetus: Toward Ending Confusion about Fetal Pain" (Bioethics).[5][6] His work has been published in such journals as Ethics, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Social Theory and Practice, American Philosophical Quarterly, QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, Journal of Law and Religion and the British Medical Journal.


As editor

  • Cutting to the Core: Exploring the Ethics of Contested Surgeries (2006)
  • Ethics for Everyday. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
  • Life, Death & Meaning : Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions (2004)


  1. ^ University of Cape Town Philosophy Department Staff
  2. ^ Steyn, Mark (December 14, 2007). "Children? Not if you love the planet". Orange County Register. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/child-birth-homeless-1942317-year-percent. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  3. ^ David Benatar, "Corporal Punishment", in: Social Theory and Practice, vol. 24 (1998), pp. 237-260.
  4. ^ Michael Benatar, David Benatar, "Between Prophylaxis and Child Abuse: The Ethics of Neonatal Circumcision," in: David Benatar, ed., Cutting to the Core: Exploring the Ethics of Contested Surgeries (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006), pp. 23-46.
  5. ^ "Benatar: Between Prophylaxis and Child Abuse - Google Scholar". Google Scholar. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&cites=15948435448560715085. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  6. ^ "Benatar: A Pain in the Fetus: Toward Ending Confusion about Fetal Pain - Google Scholar". Google Scholar. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&cites=9536043302784273755. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 

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