David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 137 (1):3 - 18 (2008)
Philosophers concerned with procreative ethics have long been puzzled by Parfit’s Non-Identity Problem (NIP). Various solutions have been proposed, but I argue that we have not solved the problem on its own narrow person-affecting terms, i.e., in terms of the identified individuals affected by procreative decisions and acts, especially future children. Thus, the core problem remains unsolved. This is a nagging concern for all who hold the common intuition that actions that harm no one are permissible. I argue against Harmon’s and Woodward’s direct, narrow person-affecting solutions, and in favor of a new solution to the NIP. My solution, or, rather, dissolution, is based on the argument that merely possible people, i.e., hypothetical people who could possibly, but will not actually, exist, are morally irrelevant. I show that the NIP only arises when we concern ourselves with merely possible people. Once we are careful to restrict our concerns to only those that do or will exist, the NIP is dissolved.
|Keywords||Non-identity Non-Identity Problem Procreation Reproduction Future people Children Parfit|
|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
Dan W. Brock (1995). The Non-Identity Problem and Genetic Harms – the Case of Wrongful Handicaps. Bioethics 9 (3):269–275.
Allen E. Buchanan, Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels & Daniel Wikler (2000). From Chance to Choice. Cambridge University Press.
Joel Feinberg (1986). Wrongful Life and the Counterfactual Element in Harming. Social Philosophy and Policy 4 (01):145-.
Matthew Hanser (1990). Harming Future People. Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (1):47-70.
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Elizabeth Cripps (2011). Climate Change, Collective Harm and Legitimate Coercion. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 14 (2):171-193.
Similar books and articles
Bernardo J. Cantens (2001). A Solution to the Problem of Personal Identity in the Metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 75:121-134.
Russell Disilvestro (2009). Reproductive Autonomy, the Non-Identity Problem, and the Non-Person Problem. Bioethics 23 (1):59-67.
Elizabeth Harman (2009). Harming as Causing Harm. In. In M. A. Roberts & D. T. Wasserman (eds.), Harming Future Persons. Springer Verlag. 137--154.
Richard Greene (2004). Does the Non-Identity Problem Block a Class of Arguments Against Cloning? International Journal of Applied Philosophy 18 (1):95-101.
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.
Elizabeth Harman (2004). Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating? Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.
Ori J. Herstein (2009). The Identity and (Legal) Rights of Future Generations. The George Washington Law Review 77:1173.
Eduardo Rivera-lópez (2009). Individual Procreative Responsibility and the Non-Identity Problem. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (3):336-363.
Anthony Wrigley (2012). Harm to Future Persons: Non-Identity Problems and Counterpart Solutions. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (2):175-190.
Guy Kahane (2009). Non-Identity, Self-Defeat, and Attitudes to Future Children. Philosophical Studies 145 (2):193 - 214.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads73 ( #15,647 of 1,089,100 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #30,976 of 1,089,100 )
How can I increase my downloads?