David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Bioethics 27 (9):471-484 (2013)
In formulating procreative principles, it makes sense to begin by thinking about whose interests ought to matter to us. Obviously, we care about those who exist. Less obviously, but still uncontroversially, we care about those who will exist. Ought we to care about those who might possibly, but will not actually, exist? Recently, unusual positions have been taken regarding merely possible people and the non-identity problem. David Velleman argues that what might have happened to you – an existent person – often doesn't merit moral consideration since the alternative person one would have been had what might have happened actually happened is a merely possible person about whom one has no reason to care. He argues that his way of thinking can eliminate the non-identity problem. Caspar Hare argues that merely possible people have interests and are morally relevant. He argues that we can solve the non-identity problem by rejecting the view that merely possible people are morally irrelevant. Both Hare and Velleman argue that focusing on one's de dicto rather than on one's de re children can help us avoid the non-identity problem. I analyze the role that merely possible, nonexistent hypothetical entities ought to play in our moral reasoning, especially with regard to procreation. I refute both Velleman's and Hare's views and demonstrate the difficulties we encounter when we try to apply their views to common non-identity cases. I conclude with the common-sense view regarding who matters, morally: only those who do, did, or will exist
|Keywords||existence procreation non‐identity future people possible people de re de dicto|
|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
Rivka Weinberg (2008). Identifying and Dissolving the Non-Identity Problem. Philosophical Studies 137 (1):3 - 18.
Jeff McMahan (2013). Causing People to Exist and Saving People's Lives. Journal of Ethics 17 (1-2):5-35.
Ori J. Herstein (2009). The Identity and (Legal) Rights of Future Generations. The George Washington Law Review 77:1173.
Caspar Hare (2007). Voices From Another World: Must We Respect the Interests of People Who Do Not, and Will Never, Exist? Ethics 117 (3):498-523.
Mark Greene (2009). Choosing Future People: Reproductive Technologies and Identity. In Vardit Ravitsky, Autumn Fiester & Arthur L. Caplan (eds.), The Penn Center Guide to Bioethics. Springer Publishing Company. 307-317.
Tony Hope & John McMillan (2012). Physicians' Duties and the Non-Identity Problem. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (8):21 - 29.
Jim Stone (2005). Why There Still Are No People. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (1):174-191.
Fiona Woollard (2012). Have We Solved the Non-Identity Problem? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5):677-690.
Elizabeth Harman (2009). Harming as Causing Harm. In. In M. A. Roberts & D. T. Wasserman (eds.), Harming Future Persons. Springer Verlag. 137--154.
Russell Disilvestro (2009). Reproductive Autonomy, the Non-Identity Problem, and the Non-Person Problem. Bioethics 23 (1):59-67.
Joseph Raz (2004). The Role of Well‐Being. Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):269–294.
Elizabeth Harman (2004). Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating? Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.
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.
Eduardo Rivera-lópez (2009). Individual Procreative Responsibility and the Non-Identity Problem. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (3):336-363.
Added to index2012-06-11
Total downloads22 ( #73,725 of 1,096,447 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #60,433 of 1,096,447 )
How can I increase my downloads?