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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 36, Issue 3, July 2010

Norvin Richards
Pages 463-477

Lives No One Should Have To Live

Prospective parents centainly ought to avoid creating a child whose life would be so terrible that no one should have to live it. However, those who sought to avoid it would risk making a serious moral error, if their reasoning did follow a certain pattern.The error would be failure to respect autonomy, which includes a claim to judge for oneself whether one's life is worth living. I explain how this applies to a decision about whether someone is to exist at all, and what difference it would make if prospective parents paid autonomy the respect it merits.

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