Romanell Center Spring 2021 Speaker Series

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S. Matthew Liao

A Right Response to Anti-Natalism

May 21, 2021, Friday, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, join us online as  Dr. S. Matthew Liao,  Director of Center for Bioethic Arthur Zitrin Professor of Bioethics (NYU) School of Global Public Health) delivers a talk on his paper, “A Right Response to Anti-Natalism". The event is part of the Spring 2021 Speaker Series hosted by the Romanell Center. For further information contact Jonathan Vajda,

Abstract: Most people think that, other things being equal, you are at liberty to decide for yourself whether or not to have children.  However, there are some people, aptly called anti-natalists, who believe that it is always morally wrong to have children. Anti-natalists are attracted to at least two types of arguments. According to the Positives Are Irrelevant Argument, unless a life contains no negative things at all, it is irrelevant that life also contains positive things. According to the Positives Are Insufficient Argument, while life does contain some positive things, as a matter of fact, almost everyone’s life contains more negative things than positive things.  In this paper, I first offer new reasons to reject these arguments.  I then offer a positive, human rights, account of why not only is it not wrong to bring people into existence, but parents in fact have a human right to do so.

PLEASE NOTE: As for all works-in-progress, please do not cite or distribute without express permission of the author.

Personal website: S Matthew Liao

3pm - Presentation
4pm - Q&A
5pm - Socialization