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Research Study: Is it Better to Exist or Never to Have Existed?

Hard data is difficult to come by as those who have never existed failed to respond to a survey even after repeated phone calls and mailings.

As a proxy population we instead investigated a population of hypothetical individuals: those who if they had existed would respond to a survey.  This population broke down into two subpopulations — those who if they existed would say it is better to exist than not, and those who said the opposite.  Extremely robust results supported the conclusion that

i)those who if they had existed would have preferred to exist prefer to exist

ii)those who had they not existed would not have have preferred to exist prefer not to exist.

Although the impact of this data on the policy issue of serving the underserved population of those who do not exist deserves further study a preliminary result that suggests itself is to divert resources from those who if they did exist wouldn’t like it to those who if they did exist would like it a lot.  For this underserved population of non-existing people an immediate emergency measure would be to bring them into existence; either by sexual intercourse or carving them out of wood or whale blubber.

 

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4 thoughts on “Research Study: Is it Better to Exist or Never to Have Existed?

  1. Are you sure that the study existed? I never received my questionnaire.

    But seriously, folks, the statement “it is better to exist than not to exist” is meaningless, since value presupposes existence.

    Slightly less seriously, I saw a good quote from Thomas Reid, the Scottish “common sense” philosopher who’s recently become more popular:

    “Des Cartes resolved not to believe his own existence till he should be able to give a good reason for it … A man that disbelieves his own existence is surely as unfit to be reasoned with as a man who believes he is made of glass. But it is evident that [Des Cartes] was in his senses all the time, and never seriously doubted of his existence. For he takes it for granted in this argument, and proves nothing at all. I am thinking, says he, and therefore I am; and is it not as good reasoning to say, I am sleeping, therefore I am? or I am doing nothing, therefore I am?” (Inquiry into the Human Mind, Ch. 1)

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