Source: Benatar, David. Better Never to Have Been (2008 1 edn). pp. 39-40.
I don't understand 2 beneath. Based on 1, can't I argue symmetrically, and oppositely, that: "when the absence of pleasure involves no deprivation for anybody,", the important question is also whether this absence of pleasure is 'not good' or 'good'?
Unlike the author, I combine Figs. 2.1-2.3 whose first columns are identical:
The second way to effect a symmetrical evaluation of pleasure and pain is shown in Figure 2.3.
To preserve symmetry in this case, the absence of pain (3) has been termed ‘not bad’ rather than ‘good’, and the absence of pleasure (4) has been termed ‘not good’ rather than ‘not bad’. On one interpretation, ‘not bad’ is equivalent to ‘good’, and ‘not good’ is equivalent to ‘bad’. But this is not the interpretation that is operative in this matrix, for if it were, it would not differ from, and would have the same shortcomings as, the previous matrix. ‘Not bad’, in Figure 2.3, therefore must mean ‘not bad, but not good either’. Interpreted in this way, however, it is too weak. Avoiding the pains of existence is more than merely ‘not bad’. It is good
Judging the absence of pleasure to be ‘not good’ is also too weak in that it does not say enough. Of course the absence of pleasure is
not what we would call good. [1.] However, the important question, when the absence of pleasure involves no deprivation for anybody, is whether it is also ‘not bad’ or whether it is ‘bad’. The answer, I suggest, is that it is ‘not good, but not bad either’ rather than ‘not good, but bad’. [2.] Because ‘not bad’ is a more informative evaluation than ‘not good’, that is the one I prefer. However, even those who wish to stick with ‘not good’ will not thereby succeed in restoring symmetry. If pain is bad and pleasure is good, but the absence of pain is good and the absence of pleasure not good, then there is no symmetry between pleasure and pain.