Future Generations

Edited by Ori Herstein (King's College London, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
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  1. Earth Consciousness and Evolving Frameworks.Deepa Kansra & Kirat Sodhi - manuscript
    Earth consciousness involves an understanding of our relationship with earth. It involves the study of earth forms, their life processes and inherent needs. The concept has created a field of frameworks and knowledge systems permeating into the day to day lives of humans including their political-economic-cultural spaces. The expression earth consciousness can be interpreted in many ways to include human awareness of nature & its processes, or the bond with mother earth and all its forms . Earth consciousness or the (...)
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  2. Global Catastrophic Risks by Chemical Contamination.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    Abstract: Global chemical contamination is an underexplored source of global catastrophic risks that is estimated to have low a priori probability. However, events such as pollinating insects’ population decline and lowering of the human male sperm count hint at some toxic exposure accumulation and thus could be a global catastrophic risk event if not prevented by future medical advances. We identified several potentially dangerous sources of the global chemical contamination, which may happen now or could happen in the future: autocatalytic (...)
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  3. Wireheading as a Possible Contributor to Civilizational Decline.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    Abstract: Advances in new technologies create new ways to stimulate the pleasure center of the human brain via new chemicals, direct application of electricity, electromagnetic fields, “reward hacking” in games and social networks, and in the future, possibly via genetic manipulation, nanorobots and AI systems. This may have two consequences: a) human life may become more interesting, b) humans may stop participating in any external activities, including work, maintenance, reproduction, and even caring for their own health, which could slowly contribute (...)
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  4. Global Catastrophic Risks Connected with Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    In this article, a classification of the global catastrophic risks connected with the possible existence (or non-existence) of extraterrestrial intelligence is presented. If there are no extra-terrestrial intelligences (ETIs) in our light cone, it either means that the Great Filter is behind us, and thus some kind of periodic sterilizing natural catastrophe, like a gamma-ray burst, should be given a higher probability estimate, or that the Great Filter is ahead of us, and thus a future global catastrophe is high probability. (...)
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  5. “Cheating Death in Damascus” Solution to the Fermi Paradox.Alexey Turchin & Roman Yampolskiy - manuscript
    One of the possible solutions of the Fermi paradox is that all civilizations go extinct because they hit some Late Great Filter. Such a universal Late Great Filter must be an unpredictable event that all civilizations unexpectedly encounter, even if they try to escape extinction. This is similar to the “Death in Damascus” paradox from decision theory. However, this unpredictable Late Great Filter could be escaped by choosing a random strategy for humanity’s future development. However, if all civilizations act randomly, (...)
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  6. Future Generations: A Challenge for Moral Theory.Gustaf Arrhenius - manuscript
    FD-Diss., Uppsala: University Printers, 2000 (ix+225 pages).
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  7. Issues: The Distant Future?Fritz Allhoff - forthcoming - Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology.
    Nanotechnology will eventually impact every area of our world. Nanoethics seeks to examine the potential risks and rewards of applications of nanotechnology. This up-to-date anthology gives the reader an introduction to and basic foundation in nanotechnology and nanoethics, and then delves into near-, mid-, and far-term issues. Comprehensive and authoritative, it:Goes beyond the usual environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns to explore such topics as privacy, nanomedicine, human enhancement, global regulation, military, humanitarianism, education, artificial intelligence, space exploration, life extension, and (...)
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  8. Political Institutions for the Future: A Five-Fold Package.Simon Caney (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    Governments are often so focused on short-term gains that they ignore the long term, thus creating extra unnecessary burdens on their citizens, and violating their responsibilities to future generations. What can be done about this? In this paper I propose a package of reforms to the ways in which policies are made by legislatures, and in which those policies are scrutinised, implemented and evaluated. The overarching aim is to enhance the accountability of the decision-making process in ways that take into (...)
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  9. Future Generations, Locke's Proviso and Libertarian Justice.Francisco Javier Carod-Artal, Pablo Martinez-Martin & Antonio Pedro Vargas - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
  10. The Concept of Sustainability.C. Tyler DesRoches - forthcoming - In Byron Williston (ed.), Environmental Ethics for Canadians. New York, NY, USA: pp. 0-0.
    American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars (1962) once said that “the aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense hang together in the broadest possible sense.” My main question is this: within the context of contemporary sustainability science, how does the concept of ‘sustainability’ in the broadest possible sense of the concept hang together in the broadest possible sense? I will answer this question by advancing two new explicative definitions of sustainability that jointly constitute a (...)
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  11. Intergenerational Justice and Institutions for the Long Term.Inigo Gonzalez-Ricoy - forthcoming - In Klaus Goetz (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Time and Politics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Institutions to address short-termism in public policymaking and to more suitably discharge our duties toward future generations have elicited much recent normative research, which this chapter surveys. It focuses on two prominent institutions: insulating devices, which seek to mitigate short-termist electoral pressures by transferring authority away to independent bodies, and constraining devices, which seek to bind elected officials to intergenerationally fair rules from which deviation is costly. The chapter first discusses sufficientarian, egalitarian, and prioritarian theories of our duties toward future (...)
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  12. Longtermist Institutional Reform.Tyler John & William MacAskill - forthcoming - In Natalie Cargill & Tyler M. John (eds.), The Long View. London, UK: FIRST.
    In all probability, future generations will outnumber us by thousands or millions to one. In the aggregate, their interests therefore matter enormously, and anything we can do to steer the future of civilization onto a better trajectory is of tremendous moral importance. This is the guiding thought that defines the philosophy of longtermism. Political science tells us that the practices of most governments are at stark odds with longtermism. But the problems of political short-termism are neither necessary nor inevitable. In (...)
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  13. No Harm Done? An Experimental Approach to the Non-Identity Problem.Matthew Kopec & Justin P. Bruner - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Discussions of the non-identity problem presuppose a widely shared intuition that actions or policies that change who comes into existence don't, thereby, become morally unproblematic. We hypothesize that this intuition isn’t generally shared by the public, which could have widespread implications concerning how to generate support for large-scale, identity-affecting policies relating to matters like climate change. To test this, we ran a version of the well-known dictator game designed to mimic the public's behavior over identity-affecting choices. We found the public (...)
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  14. Entry on “Intergenerational Justice.”.Lukas Meyer - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  15. The Rights of Future People and Claims to Compensation Owing to Wrongless Harm-Doing By Previous Generations.Lukas H. Meyer - forthcoming - Ethical Perspectives.
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  16. Fossil Fuels.Kian A. Mintz-Woo - forthcoming - In Benjamin Hale & Andrew Light (eds.), Routledge Companion to Environmental Ethics. Routledge.
    First, with respect to our personal relationship to fossil fuels, this chapter introduces arguments about whether we should or even can address our own usage of fossil fuels. This involves determining whether offsetting emissions is morally required and practically possible. Second, with respect to our relationship with fossil fuels at the national level, it discusses forms of local resistance, especially divestment and pipeline protesting. Finally, with respect to our relationship with fossil fuels at the international level, it considers two types (...)
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  17. Is the Public Debt a Burden on Future Generations?Hans Neisser - forthcoming - Social Research.
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  18. The Philosophical Core of Effective Altruism.Brian Berkey - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 52 (1):93-115.
    Effective altruism’s identity as both a philosophy and a social movement requires effective altruists to consider which philosophical commitments are essential, such that one must embrace them in order to count as an effective altruist, at least in part in the light of the goal of building a robust social movement capable of advancing its aims. The goal of building a social movement provides a strong reason for effective altruists to embrace an ecumenical set of core commitments. At the same (...)
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  19. The Climate Imperative for Business.Brian Berkey & Eric W. Orts - 2021 - California Management Review 63.
  20. A Philosopher’s Guide to Discounting.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - In Mark Bryant Budolfson, Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter introduces several distinctions relevant to what is called the “discounting problem”, since the issue is how (future) costs and benefits are discounted to make them comparable in present terms. The author defends the claim that there are good reasons to adopt Ramsey-style discounting in the context of climate change: the Ramsey rule is robust, flexible, and well-understood. An important distinction involved in discounting—“descriptivism” and “prescriptivism”—is discussed. It is argued that, even if we adopt prescriptivism, and accept that this (...)
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  21. The Ethics of Measuring Climate Change Impacts.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2021 - In Trevor M. Letcher (ed.), The Impacts of Climate Change. Elsevier. pp. 521-535.
    This chapter qualitatively lays out some of the ways that climate change impacts are evaluated in integrated assessment models (IAMs). Putting aside the physical representations of these models, it first discusses some key social or structural assumptions, such as the damage functions and the way growth is modeled. Second, it turns to the moral assumptions, including parameters associated with intertemporal evaluation and interpersonal inequality aversion, but also assumptions in population ethics about how different-sized populations are compared and how we think (...)
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  22. Neutrality, Nature, and Intergenerational Justice.Britta Clark - 2020 - Environmental Politics 1.
    Suppose the present generation leaves future ones with a world depleted of all the natural resources required for many valuable human pursuits. Has the present generation acted unjustly? According to contemporary theories of liberal egalitarian intragenerational and intergenerational justice, the answer, it appears, is no. The explanation for this verdict lies in the liberal commitment to remaining neutral between different ways of life: many value-laden environ- mental sites and species are not an all-purpose means to any reasonable human end and (...)
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  23. Institutional Knowledge and its Normative Implications.Säde Hormio - 2020 - In Miguel Garcia-Godinez, Rachael Mellin & Raimo Tuomela (eds.), Social Ontology, Normativity and Law. Berlin: pp. 63-78.
    We attribute knowledge to institutions on a daily basis, saying things like "the government knew about the threat" or "the university did not act upon the knowledge it had about the harassment". Institutions can also attribute knowledge to themselves, like when Maybank Global Banking claims that it offers its customers "deep expertise and vast knowledge" of the Southeast Asia region, or when the United States Geological Survey states that it understands complex natural science phenomena like the probability of earthquakes occurring (...)
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  24. Why COVID-19 is the Right Time to Increase Carbon Prices.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2020 - RTÉ Brainstorm.
    [Newspaper opinion] strengthening carbon pricing during COVID-19 is the best time to do so for both consumers and for governments.
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  25. An 'Ethics for the Transition': Schelling's Critique of Negative Philosophy and its Significance for Environmental Thought.Dalia Nassar - 2020 - In G. Anthony Bruno (ed.), Schelling's Philosophy: Freedom, Nature, and Systematicity. New York, NY, USA: pp. 231-248.
    Over the last four decades, environmental ethics has become an increasingly significant field of philosophy. Yet, many of its practitioners question its goals and effectiveness. Above all, environmental philosophers voice uncertainty about the extent to which the field has been able to influence action, behaviour, and policy in relation to the environment. What are the reasons behind this meagre influence and what kind of contrasting philosophical approach might enable transformative action? The goal of this paper is to answer these questions (...)
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  26. Review of The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity. [REVIEW]Theron Pummer - 2020 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 8.
  27. Put a Price on Carbon Now!Peter Singer & Kian Mintz-Woo - 2020 - Project Syndicate.
    [Newspaper Op-Ed] Before the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying fall in oil prices, a carbon price would have been immediately painful for the countries that imposed it, but far better for everyone over the longer term. In this unprecedented moment, introducing a carbon price would be beneficial both now and for the future.
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  28. Can We Benefit in Non-Identity Cases?Charlotte Unruh - 2020 - Intergenerational Justice Review 5 (2):49-50.
    Many people believe that we have a moral reason to benefit others. However, this reason is commonly thought to be weaker than the reason against harming others. This might explain why relatively little attention has been paid to the morality of benefiting in non-identity cases. My aim is to convince you, in the next few paragraphs, that this is a decisive oversight. The non-identity problem arises in cases of harming and in cases of benefiting alike. It is therefore broader in (...)
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  29. Long-Term Trajectories of Human Civilization.Seth D. Baum, Stuart Armstrong, Timoteus Ekenstedt, Olle Häggström, Robin Hanson, Karin Kuhlemann, Matthijs M. Maas, James D. Miller, Markus Salmela, Anders Sandberg, Kaj Sotala, Phil Torres, Alexey Turchin & Roman V. Yampolskiy - 2019 - Foresight 21 (1):53-83.
    Purpose This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist. -/- Design/methodology/approach This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant future; catastrophe (...)
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  30. Climate Engineering: A Normative Perspective.Daniel Edward Callies - 2019 - Lexington Books.
    Should we research, develop, and deploy climate engineering technology? Drawing upon contemporary moral and political theory, this book offers a normative perspective on such questions, ultimately making the case in favor of research and regulation guided by norms of legitimacy, distributive justice, and procedural justice.
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  31. The Non-Identity Objection to Intergenerational Harm: A Critical Re-Examination.Fausto Corvino - 2019 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (2):165-185.
    In this article I analyse those that I consider the most powerful counterarguments that have been advanced against the non-identity objection to the idea of intergenerational harm, according to which an action cannot cause harm to a given agent if her biological identity does actually depend—in a partial but still determinant way—on the performance of this action. In doing this, I firstly go through the deontological criticisms to the person-affecting view of harm, before moving on to sufficientarian and communitarian accounts (...)
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  32. Parental Partiality and Future Children.Thomas Douglas - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1).
    Prospective parents are sometimes partial towards their future children, engaging in what I call ‘pre-parental partiality’. Common sense morality is as permissive of pre-parental partiality as it is of ordinary parental partiality—partiality towards one’s existing children. But I argue that existing justifications for partiality typically establish weaker reasons in support of pre-parental partiality than in support of parental partiality. Thus, either these existing justifications do not fully account for our reasons of parental partiality, or our reasons to engage in pre-parental (...)
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  33. Motivating (or Baby-Stepping Toward) a Global Constitutional Convention for Future Generation.Stephen M. Gardiner - 2019 - Environmental Ethics 41 (3):199-220.
    Recently, I have been arguing for a global constitutional convention focused on protecting future generations. This deliberative body would be akin to the American constitutional convention of 1787, which gave rise to the present structure of government in the United States. It would confront the “governance gap” that currently exists surrounding concern for future generations. In particular, contemporary institutions tend to crowd out intergenerational concern, and thereby facilitate a “tyranny of the contemporary.” They not only fail to address a basic (...)
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  34. Space Colonization and Existential Risk.Joseph Gottlieb - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):306-320.
    Ian Stoner has recently argued that we ought not to colonize Mars because doing so would flout our pro tanto obligation not to violate the principle of scientific conservation, and there is no countervailing considerations that render our violation of the principle permissible. While I remain agnostic on, my primary goal in this article is to challenge : there are countervailing considerations that render our violation of the principle permissible. As such, Stoner has failed to establish that we ought not (...)
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  35. Neorepublicanism and the Domination of Posterity.Corey Katz - 2019 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (2):151-171.
    ABSTRACTSome have recently argued that the current generation dominates future generations by causing long-term climate change. They relate these claims to Philip Pettit and Frank Lovett’s neorepub...
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  36. Environmental Heritage and the Ruins of the Future.Erich Hatala Matthes - 2019 - In Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jeanette Bicknell & Jennifer Judkins (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Ruins, Monuments, and Memorials. Routledge.
    We now have good reason to worry that many coastal cities will be flooded by the end of the century. How should we confront this possibility (or inevitability)? What attitudes should we adopt to impending inundation of such magnitude? In the case of place-loss due to anthropogenic climate change, I argue that there may ultimately be something fitting about letting go, both thinking prospectively, when the likelihood of preservation is bleak, and retrospectively, when we reflect on our inability to prevent (...)
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  37. Kuidas antropotseenis õigesti talitada [How to behave rightly in the Anthropocene].Francesco Orsi - 2019 - Vikerkaar 9 (September 2019).
    A quick overview of the main ethical and ethical-political alternatives facing our moral predicament in the so-called Anthropocene, striking a note of relative optimism. (I'll be happy to share an English version on request.).
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  38. Discounting, Climate Change, and the Ecological Fallacy.Matthew Rendall - 2019 - Ethics 129 (3):441-463.
    Discounting future costs and benefits is often defended on the ground that our descendants will be richer. Simply to treat the future as better off, however, is to commit an ecological fallacy. Even if our descendants are better off when we average across climate change scenarios, this cannot justify discounting costs and benefits in possible states of the world in which they are not. Giving due weight to catastrophe scenarios requires energetic action against climate change.
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  39. The Anthropocentrism of the Cosmic Perspective Argument.Seth Sivinski & Joseph Ulatowski - 2019 - Ethics and the Environment 24 (1):1-19.
    New developments in cosmology make it unlikely that life on Earth is unique. The Cosmic Perspective Argument states that given these developments we should not be concerned with the Earth’s environmental degradation. In this paper, we argue that although scaling our analysis upwards into the cosmos provides the Cosmic Perspective with its strength, when we apply the Cosmic Perspective downwards, the view appears to be terribly flawed. After examining the Cosmic Perspective at an individual level the problems that arise intensify (...)
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  40. Artificial Intelligence, Robots and the Ethics of the Future.Constantin Vica & Cristina Voinea - 2019 - Revue Roumaine de Philosophie 63 (2):223–234.
    The future rests under the sign of technology. Given the prevalence of technological neutrality and inevitabilism, most conceptualizations of the future tend to ignore moral problems. In this paper we argue that every choice about future technologies is a moral choice and even the most technology-dominated scenarios of the future are, in fact, moral provocations we have to imagine solutions to. We begin by explaining the intricate connection between morality and the future. After a short excursion into the history of (...)
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  41. Do We Have Moral Obligations Towards Future People? Addressing the Moral Vagueness of Future Environmental Scenarios.Gabriela Arriagada Bruneau - 2018 - Veritas: Revista de Filosofía y Teología 40:49-65.
    In this paper, I will be primarily concerned with moral issues regarding future people and the environment. When it comes to the future, we have deontological and epistemic limitations. The closer to the present, the higher the certainty and the knowledge we have about facts. Thus, when we intend to find moral clarity regarding a future scenario, we deal with an inverse relation between certainty and time. The main problem is that most ways of dealing with moral issues about future (...)
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  42. Have You Benefitted From Carbon Emissions? You May Be a “Morally Objectionable Free Rider”.J. Spencer Atkins - 2018 - Environmental Ethics 40 (3):283-296.
    Much of the climate ethics discussion centers on considerations of compensatory justice and historical accountability. However, little attention is given to supporting and defending the Beneficiary Pays Principle as a guide for policymaking. This principle states that those who have benefitted from an instance of harm have an obligation to compensate those who have been harmed. Thus, this principle implies that those benefitted by industrialization and carbon emission owe compensation to those who have been harmed by climate change. Beneficiary Pays (...)
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  43. Consideraciones sobre la fuerza de las razones en contra de dañar.Santiago Truccone Borgogno - 2018 - Critica 50 (149):31-57.
    En este trabajo realizaré afirmaciones sobre la fuerza de las razones en contra de dañar. Distinguiré diferentes tipos de estados de daño y de acciones dañosas. Explicaré qué tipo de estado de daño es más grave y qué tipo de acción dañosa genera razones más fuertes en contra de dañar. Finalmente compararé la fuerza de las razones en contra de dañar derivadas tanto de los estados de daño como de los distintos tipos de acciones dañosas, para establecer una regla de (...)
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  44. Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency, and Promise of Tackling Climate Change. [REVIEW]Eric Brandstedt - 2018 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (3):405-408.
  45. Towards the Ethics of a Green Future. The Theory and Practice of Human Rights for Future People.Marcus Düwell, Gerhard Bos & Naomi van Steenbergen (eds.) - 2018 - Routledge.
    What are our obligations towards future generations who stand to be harmed by the impact of today’s environmental crises? This book explores ecological sustainability as a human rights issue and examines what our long-term responsibilities might be.
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  46. A Good Exit: What to Do About the End of Our Species?Toby Handfield - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):272-297.
    We know that Homo sapiens will not exist forever. Given this, how should our species end? What are the reasons, if any, to delay our extinction? In this paper, I show that the pre-eminent reasons which favour prolonging the existence of the species are partial: they will arise from the particular attachments and projects of the final few generations. While there may also be impartial reasons to prolong the species, these reasons are liable, with time, to reverse their valence: we (...)
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  47. The Claims of Future Persons.Kirsten Meyer - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (1):43-59.
    This paper defends a deontological egalitarianism in the ethics of future generations. Concerns about the non-identity problem have been taken as a reason to develop sufficientarian approaches to intergenerational justice. This paper argues for a solution to the non-identity problem that refers to the claims of future persons. In principle, the content of these claims could be spelled out with a sufficientarian and an egalitarian approach. What speaks against sufficientarianism, however, is that the sufficiency threshold, unless it is set very (...)
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  48. Moral Uncertainty Over Policy Evaluation.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2018 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 11 (2):291-294.
    [Dissertation summary] When performing intertemporal cost-benefit analyses of policies, both in terms of climate change and other long-term problems, the discounting problem becomes critical. The question is how to weight intertemporal costs and benefits to generate present value equivalents. This thesis argues that those best placed to answer the discounting problem are domain experts, not moral philosophers or the public at large. It does this by arguing that the discounting problem is a special case of an interesting class of problems, (...)
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  49. Should We Colonize Other Planets?Adam Morton - 2018 - Cambridge , UK: Polity.
    A critical exposition of plans to colonize other planets , especially Mars, and their costs. The final chapter links with issues about the value and future of human life. See the extended summary uploaded to this site.
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  50. The Task of Philosophy in the Anthropocene: Axial Echoes in Global Space.Richard Polt & Jon Wittrock (eds.) - 2018 - London: Rowman & Littlefield International.
    In its early modern form, philosophy gave a decisive impetus to the science and technology that have transformed the planet and brought on the so-called Anthropocene. Can philosophy now help us understand this new age and act within it? The contributors to this volume take a broad historical view as they reflect on the responsibilities and possibilities for philosophy today.
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