David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Environmental Values 13 (4):421-448 (2004)
The way our decisions and actions can affect future generations is surrounded by uncertainty. This is evident in current discussions of environmental risks related to global climate change, biotechnology and the use and storage of nuclear energy. The aim of this paper is to consider more closely how uncertainty affects our moral responsibility to future generations, and to what extent moral agents can be held responsible for activities that inflict risks on future people. It is argued that our moral responsibility to posterity is limited because our ability to foresee how present decisions and activities will affect future people is limited. The reason for this is primarily that we are in a situation of ignorance regarding the pace and direction of future scientific and technological development. This ignorance reduces our responsibility in a temporal dimension because in most areas it is impossible to predict the interests and resource needs of future generations. In one area, however, we have fairly reliable knowledge about future people. It is reasonable to assume that future human beings will have the same basic physiological (physical and biological) needs as we have. On this basis, it is argued that we can be held responsible for activities causing avoidable damage to critical resources that are necessary to provide for future physiological needs. Furthermore, it is suggested that it is prima facie immoral to impose risks upon future generations in cases where the following conditions are fulfilled: (1) the risk poses a threat to the ability of future generations to meet their physiological needs, and (2) the risk assessment is supported by scientifically based harm scenarios
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Kristian skagen Ekeli (2009). Constitutional Experiments: Representing Future Generations Through Submajority Rules. Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (4):440-461.
Kristian Skagen Ekeli (2005). Giving a Voice to Posterity – Deliberative Democracy and Representation of Future People. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18 (5):429-450.
Behnam Taebi (2011). The Morally Desirable Option for Nuclear Power Production. Philosophy and Technology 24 (2):169-192.
Kristian Skagen Ekeli (2007). Green Constitutionalism: The Constitutional Protection of Future Generations. Ratio Juris 20 (3):378-401.
Yogi Hale Hendlin (2014). The Threshold Problem in Intergenerational Justice. Ethics and the Environment 19 (2):1-38.
Similar books and articles
William J. FitzPatrick (2007). Climate Change and the Rights of Future Generations. Environmental Ethics 29 (4):369-388.
M. L. J. Wissenburg (2011). Parenting and Intergenerational Justice: Why Collective Obligations Towards Future Generations Take Second Place to Individual Responsibility. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 24 (6):557-573.
Jan Deckers (2011). Negative “GHIs,” the Right to Health Protection, and Future Generations. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (2):165-176.
Behnam Taebi & Jan Leen Kloosterman (2008). To Recycle or Not to Recycle? An Intergenerational Approach to Nuclear Fuel Cycles. Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (2):177-200.
E. Wesley & F. Peterson (1993). Time Preference, the Environment and the Interests of Future Generations. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 6 (2):107-126.
Christopher Groves (2009). Future Ethics: Risk, Care and Non-Reciprocal Responsibility. Journal of Global Ethics 5 (1):17 – 31.
Peter Wenz (1983). Ethics, Energy Policy, and Future Generations. Environmental Ethics 5 (3):195-209.
Ronald Jeurissen & Gerard Keijzers (2004). Future Generations and Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly 14 (1):47-69.
Robin Attfield (1998). Environmental Ethics and Intergenerational Equity. Inquiry 41 (2):207 – 222.
Added to index2010-03-10
Total downloads64 ( #66,136 of 1,796,591 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #205,823 of 1,796,591 )
How can I increase my downloads?