[Link] "Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?"

post by zdgroff · 2018-12-17T17:50:41.085Z · score: 17 (8 votes) · EA · GW · 4 comments

This is a link post for "Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?" in the New York Times today:

There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. In reflecting on this question, I want to suggest an answer to a single question, one that hardly covers the whole philosophical territory but is an important aspect of it. Would human extinction be a tragedy?

Scheffler's views do not line up with those of many in our community, but it's interesting and somewhat surprising to me to see this discussed so prominently.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Larks · 2018-12-18T02:06:41.802Z · score: 9 (10 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

In response to the title question: yes.

comment by Yannick_Muehlhaeuser · 2018-12-21T01:00:51.774Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)
How many human lives would it be worth sacrificing to preserve the existence of Shakespeare’s works? If we were required to engage in human sacrifice in order to save his works from eradication, how many humans would be too many?

This strikes me as a good way of making people think of the distinction between instrumental- and terminal values.

comment by kbog · 2018-12-19T04:41:07.882Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

It's <current year> and people still think climate change might cause human extinction!

The VHEMT sort of thing has been around for a while, it's not really new. Recently the new thing seems to be that more people are taking moral antinatalism seriously.