Easy to read in one sitting, this is a work of serious philosophy but written with sensitivity and wit, offering a framework for an approach to the future that will make the book’s title question feel less urgent—and more likely to elicit a humane response.

A Philosophical Dilemma for Our Unbearable Times
by Todd May; foreword by Michael Schur
Crown, August 2024

Now, more than ever, many people wonder whether we should bring more human beings into the world when it seems increasingly clear that not only do we face bleak prospects as a species but also that we seem powerless to rein in the damage our existence causes the Earth and those we share it with. In SHOULD WE GO EXTINCT?, May reasons both for and against further procreation. He discusses the value that only humans can bring to the world and to one another as well as the goods, like art and music, that would be lost were we no longer to be here. On the other side of the ledger, he details the suffering we cause to nature and the non-human world. May considers the prospects and the complexities involved with such changes as an end to factory farming, curbing scientific testing of animals, reducing the human population, and seeking to develop empathy with our fellow creatures.

Todd May is the author of seventeen books of philosophy. He was one of the original philosophers asked to contribute to the New York Times philosophy blog The Stone. He was also one of the philosophical advisors to the hit NBC sitcom The Good Place and showrunner Michael Schur’s New York Times bestselling book How to Be Perfect. He teaches philosophy at Warren Wilson College.

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