I'm at a crossroads in life where I can choose to live a life of a father or remain child-free.

I don't feel like becoming a father and want to remain child-free for the rest of my life.

Are there any proper philosophy books on the decision of having children I can read that will help me with the decision?

I have come across books about related topics such as antinatalism (like David Benatar's Better Never to Have Been), but I would like something else, something more general, perhaps something related to decision theory.

  • Having children should be a free choice for anyone. Nothing good can come from people who became parents just because they felt obligated to do so. Yet i feel like derogaroty terms like "child-free", reminiscing of "tabacco-free", "cancer-free"... should be avoided. Childrens are not a nuisance. The children others will have done sacrifices raising will wipe your ass when you are too old to do so by yourself.
    – armand
    Feb 21, 2021 at 8:26

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if you are trying to find a justification for a decision you've already made, or if you are still open about the decision, but just a suggestion:

You don't mention what your reasons are for leaning towards not having children, but from what I've read, a lot of people argue that it's a moral imperative to not have children on the idea of scarcity of resources. Interestingly, this Malthusian analysis seems to be historically wrong, it seems that the driving force of technological advancement and exchange of ideas actually far outweigh the scarcity of resources that comes with more people. It would be good to look at this https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/2018/press-release/ and there are youtube talks you can look up on this. Essentially the argument is that more people imply more ideas that can be combined to better the well being of humans, the planet, etc., and that these ideas can be combined in something like a factorial/exponential way, whereas the consumption of resources grows at a polynomial rate. So long story short, for considerations of the species' well being, or the planet's, it may actually be a better idea to procreate.

In any case, best of luck with your decision, whatever it may be!


I think at the moment, the most exhaustive book on the matter is

Why Have Children? The Ethical Debate

It tries to cover all aspects that are important to the decision process and all ethical implications coming with them, covering lots of relevant literature on the topic up until the publication date.

That's not exactly built on decision theory, but probably the best academic book on that matter available. The best you can do is not to learn how the decision comes about in theory, but to learn every relevant fact and make a decision yourself anyway. Nobody can take that from you and there are no schematics that will help you with that.

  • Great recommendation, thank you!
    – Alex
    Feb 20, 2021 at 20:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.