The Non-Identity Problem, Collective Rights, and the Threshold Conception of Harm

Abstract
One of the primary views on our supposed obligation towards our descendants in the context of environmental problems invokes the idea of the rights of future generations. A growing number of authors also hold that the descendants of those victimized by historical injustices, including colonialism and slavery, have the right to demand financial reparations for the sufferings of their distant ancestors. However, these claims of intergenerational rights face theoretical difficulties, notably the non-identity problem. To circumvent this problem in a relationship between present and future generations, some rights theorists replace future individual rights with such collective rights. Others advance the threshold conception of harm in discussing intergenerational relationships in general. Despite the significant implications these revisionist views might have, few efforts have been made to scrutinize their solidity. To plug such a gap in the literature, this paper examines to what extent the collective understanding of intergenerational rights is pertinent. I also explore the virtues and drawbacks of the threshold interpretation of harm. The paper concludes by suggesting that the motivation behind these and other versions of the rights theory suffers from the ambiguity of a traditional dichotomy between perfect and imperfect duties.
Keywords historical injustices  intergenerational justice  perfect and imperfect duties  rights of future generations
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,817
External links
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
Makoto Usami (2011). Intergenerational Justice: The Rights of Future People or the Duty of Fair Play. Tokyo Institute of Technology Department of Social Engineering Discussion Paper (2011-05):1-19.
Seumas Miller (2000). Collective Rights and Minority Rights. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (2):241-257.
Mathias Risse (2012). On Global Justice. Princeton University Press.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-11-30

Total downloads

32 ( #57,516 of 1,099,913 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #33,415 of 1,099,913 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.