Source: Benatar, David. Better Never to Have Been (2008 1 edn). pp. 43 - 43.
I don't understand 1 and 2 beneath. I read about Intrinsic vs. Instrumental Good.
Some people have difficulty understanding how (2) is not an advantage over (4). They should consider an analogy which, because it involves the comparison of two existent people is unlike the comparison between existence and non-existence in this way, but which nonetheless may be instructive. S (Sick) is prone to regular bouts of illness. Fortunately for him, he is also so constituted that he recovers quickly. H (Healthy) lacks the capacity for quick recovery, but he never gets sick. It is bad for S that he gets sick and it is good for him that he recovers quickly. It is good that H never gets sick, but it is not bad that he lacks the capacity to heal speedily. The capacity for quick recovery, although a good for S, is not a real advantage over H. This is because the absence of that capacity is not bad for H. This, in turn, is because the absence of that capacity is not a deprivation for H. H is not worse off than he would have been had he had the recuperative powers of S. S is not better off than H in any way, even though S is better off than he himself would have been had he lacked the capacity for rapid recovery.
It might be objected that the analogy is tendentious. It is obvious that it is better to be Healthy than to be Sick. The objection is that if I treat these as analogies for never existing and existing respectively, then I bias the discussion toward my favoured conclusion. But the problem with this objection, if it is taken alone, is that it could be levelled at all analogies. The point of an analogy is to find a case (such as H and S) where matters are clear and thereby to shed some light on a disputed case (such as Scenarios A and B in Fig. 2.1). Tendentiousness, then, is not the core issue. Instead, the real question is whether or not the analogy is a good one.
One reason why it might be thought not to be a good analogy is that whereas pleasure (in Fig. 2.1) is an intrinsic good, the capacity
for quick recovery is but an instrumental good. [1.] It might be argued further that it would be impossible to provide an analogy involving two existing people (such as H and S) that could show one of the people not to be disadvantaged by lacking some intrinsic good that the other has. [2.] Since the only unambiguous cases of an actual person lacking a good and not thereby being disadvantaged are cases involving instrumental goods, the difference between intrinsic and instrumental goods might be thought to be relevant.
This, however, is unconvincing, because there is a deeper explanation of why absent intrinsic goods could always be thought to be bad in analogies involving only existing people. Given that these people exist, the absence of any intrinsic good could always be thought to constitute a deprivation for them. In analogies that compare two existing people the only way to simulate the absence of deprivation is by considering instrumental goods.³¹ Because (3) and (4) make it explicit that the presence or absence of deprivation is crucial, it seems entirely fair that the analogy should test this feature and can ignore the differences between intrinsic and instrumental goods.
³¹ Any instructive analogy for Scenarios A and B would have to involve a comparison of two existing people. An analogy involving an existing and nonexisting person would be no clearer than the case we are trying to illuminate. Thus we cannot be required to consider analogies that compare a person’s existence with his never existing