David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethics and the Environment 3 (1):81 - 95 (1998)
The radical contingencies attending human reproduction indicate that attempts to improve the living conditions of future generations result in generations populated by different individuals than would otherwise have been born. This remarkable consequence challenges the widespread belief that the present generation has responsibilities to its remote successors. I contend, first, that while the radical genetic contingency and epistemological indeterminacy of future persons obsolves us of obligations to act "in behalf of" them as individuals, this moral absolution does not entail a permission to disregard entirely the remote consequences of our policies. Since relevant moral principles bind us to persons in general, not to particular individuals, we remain obligated to improve the life prospects of whatever individuals eventually come into being. Second, I suggest that by applying an analogous argument within the lives of persons rather than to the long history of civilization, we arrive at the morally repugnant result of negating long-term obligations to contemporary persons. Conversely, the condition of continuity which affords moral legitimacy of personal obligations among contemporaries likewise entails moral responsibility for the life conditions of distant generations.
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Steve Vanderheiden (2006). Conservation, Foresight, and the Future Generations Problem. Inquiry 49 (4):337 – 352.
Kevin Gary Behrens (2012). Moral Obligations Towards Future Generations in African Thought. Journal of Global Ethics 8 (2-3):179-191.
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.
Walter Glannon (2001). Genes and Future People: Philosophical Issues in Human Genetics. Westview Press.
Peter Wenz (1983). Ethics, Energy Policy, and Future Generations. Environmental Ethics 5 (3):195-209.
Napoleon M. Mabaquiao (2002). Corporations and the Cause of Environmental Protection. Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 12 (1):11-15.
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.
Richard I. Sikora & Brian M. Barry (eds.) (1978/1996). Obligations to Future Generations. White Horse Press.
Jan Deckers (2011). Negative “GHIs,” the Right to Health Protection, and Future Generations. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (2):165-176.
Ingmar Persson & Julian Savulescu (2012). Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement. Oxford University Press.
Roy W. Perrett (2003). Future Generations and the Metaphysics of the Self: Western and Indian Philosophical Perspectives. Asian Philosophy 13 (1):29 – 37.
Robin Attfield (1998). Environmental Ethics and Intergenerational Equity. Inquiry 41 (2):207 – 222.
Added to index2011-05-29
Total downloads4 ( #267,530 of 1,101,815 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #306,516 of 1,101,815 )
How can I increase my downloads?