Raphael Samuel, a businessman from Mumbai, released a YouTube video in February stating his intention to sue his parents for bringing him into the world.
Samuel, 27, is a believer in anti-natalism – a philosophical belief that attributes negative value to birth, and therefore states that human should stop procreating immediately.
Both of Samuel’s parents are lawyers, and he claims to have a good relationship with them. He says in his video that he is aware his case is unlikely to stand up in court, but this is not a huge concern of his as his primary aim is to make a philosophical statement.
He states, “I want everyone in India and also the world to realise one thing: that they are born without their consent”.
There are a range of philosophers who argue that procreation is morally problematic because we are unable to obtain consent from the human being who will be created; these include Julio Cabrera, Julia Tanner and Sean Shiffrin.
There are also interesting implications in what he states about how this belief system might affect how a person views their own life. He says people “don’t owe their parents anything” and “we should be maintained for our entire life, we should be paid to live”.
This has connotations for moral philosophy, inverting the more common belief that we owe our parents for bringing us into the world and raising us – as well the economic and political structures we have that enforce we are morally obliged to earn our maintenance.
Philosophy applicants may be interested in the role of consent in moral philosophy, particularly considering if there are any times it would be moral to act on a person without their consent. They might also be interested in considering whether birth has a negative value and researching anti-natalism and negative ethics in more depth.