Non-personal preferences of never-existed people

by Stuart_Armstrong1 min read10th Mar 201169 comments

12

Personal Blog

Some people see never-existed people as moral agents, and claim that we can talk about their preferences. Generally this means their personal preference in existing versus non-existing. Formulations such "it is better for someone to have existed than not" reflect this way of thinking.

But if the preferences of never-existed are relevant, then their non-personal perferences are also relevant. Do they perfer a blue world or a pink one? Would they want us to change our political systems? Would they want us to not bring into existence some never-existent people they don't like?

It seems that those who are advocating bringing never-existent people into being in order to satisfy those people's preferences should be focusing their attention on their non-personal preferences instead. After all, we can only bring into being so many trillions of trillions of trillions; but there is no theoretical limit to the number of never-existent people whose non-personal preferences we can satisfy. Just get some reasonable measure across the preferences of never-existent people, and see if there's anything that sticks out from the mass.