Is procreation an inbuilt component of human nature? I am interested in developing more of an understanding about procreation in humans from a critical, philosophical perspective.

For example look at beginning of the blurb of this book on Amazon

Producing and rearing children are immensely important human activities.

This seems to be presumed as a given. But why?

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    You might be interested in antinatalism – commando Dec 27 '16 at 2:26
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    As worded, it seems to be an empirical fact much like gravity matters to our lives on this planet. I think what you're hinting at though is an argument about ethical naturalism or rather the role nature has (if any) in informing morality, and then how we go about discovering nature and how we understand these discoveries. – virmaior Jan 26 '17 at 0:43
  • Procreation is the production of offspring, therefore it can not be a component of any "nature", human or otherwise. What you probably mean is if the urge to procreate is a part of human nature. That is very likely true since species without such an urge are unlikely to last very long. Whether this makes it valuable in one's individual ethics is another question, one can certainly adopt an ethics where procreation is a sin, etc., some religious orders come close to that. – Conifold Jan 26 '17 at 1:26
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    If procreation wasn't part of human nature, then one of the two of us would be named "Adam" and the other one "Eve", and the other three commenting to your question wouldn't exist. – gnasher729 Feb 26 '17 at 19:55
  • @virmaior would like to hear a longer answer along these lines if you wished. – Andrew Welch May 7 '17 at 18:06

The human species is the consequence of the laws of evolution. That procreation is something that basically universally has found cognitive, affective, and conative favor is probably reflective of evolutionary forces shaping the human mind into something greatly amenable to procreation. The interesting question then becomes what the unit of selection is in natural selection, but to understand why procreation is important to humans, what can be known is that procreation is a vehicle for natural selection, with certain implicit mechanisms of quality control.

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  • This is absolutely the true answer. Humans have inherited a desire for procreation that has been continuously re-enforced for billions of generations... but that's a "mere fact", and I assume it's been downvoted because it doesn't really address the philosophical question of procreation as a human value. – Ask About Monica Mar 29 '17 at 17:12
  • @kbelder and the use of "basically universally" ? – Andrew Welch May 7 '17 at 18:05

I would argue no for the following reason: there exists a human who has the means, opportunity, and motive to procreate (i.e., another human to have sex with, a place to do so, and the intent to not prevent potential pregnancy) but does not do so because they have not enough viable sperm to penetrate the egg and commence gestation. I could object here, however, and purport that having the means to procreate implies viability of both one's reproductive mate and oneself, which weakens, if not nullifies, the above argument. An alternative explanation for why someone with the means, opportunity, and motive to procreate would not do so could be that they're a minor and, thus, "prevented" (quotes here indicatethis is a whole seperate argument that I'm not dealing with here) by paternalistic laws from doing so until they reach adulthood by which time the person no longer has the means, opportunity, and motive to procreate. The only way I would know how to show that procreation is not inherent to human existence would be by presenting a case for the existence of only humans without the means, opportunity, and motive to procreate, which I've been trying to do for the last hour and have yet to succeed... hopefully, this elucidates your question of why procreation is presumably presumable.

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