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Born under a bad sign: On the dark rhetoric of antinatalism

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Offering a pointed response to the perennial question of being, those sympathetic to the philosophical posture of antinatalism proclaim the suffering of the world does not ultimately justify bringing life into it, consequently advancing a moral stance towards procreation. As this particular topic of conversation is unlikely to curry favor with a majority of interlocutors, the antinatalist-as-rhetor faces a seemingly Sisyphean task in issuing a harsh alternative to the more pervasive narrative espousing birth as an occasion for celebration. Cautious to dismiss antinatalism as simply a profane social discourse, I first consider its communicative import as type of tragic rhetoric which identifies birth as a phenomenological disaster that warrants more critical appraisal. Additionally, I examine the utility of embracing a performative writing style to explore this topic insofar as it adds rhetorical dimension to the attempt at communicating the horrors of existence.
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Keywords: antinatalism; performative writing; pessimism; philosophy; rhetoric; tragedy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent researcher

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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