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Future Generations

Edited by Ori Herstein (King's College London, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
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  1. Stuart Rachels - (1999). Review Essay of Contingent Future Persons, Jan C. Heller and Nick Fotion, Eds. [REVIEW] Bioethics 13:160-167.
    This essay critically comments on Contingent Future Persons (1997), an anthology of thirteen papers on the same topic as Obligations to Future Generations (1978), namely, the morality of decisions affecting the existence, number and identity of future persons. In my discussion, I identify the basic point of dispute between R. M. Hare and Michael Lockwood on potentiality; I criticize Nick Fotion's thesis that the Repugnant Conclusion is too far-fetched to be philosophically valuable; I object to Clark Wolf's "Impure Consequentialist Theory (...)
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  2. Maltais Aaron (2015). Making Our Children Pay for Mitigation. In The Ethics of Climate Governance. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 91-109.
    Investments in mitigating climate change have their greatest environmental impact over the long term. As a consequence the incentives to invest in cutting greenhouse gas emissions today appear to be weak. In response to this challenge, there has been increasing attention given to the idea that current generations can be motivated to start financing mitigation at much higher levels today by shifting these costs to the future through national debt. Shifting costs to the future in this way benefits future generations (...)
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  3. Matthew Adler (2009). Future Generations: A Prioritarian View. George Washington Law Review 77:1478-1520.
    Should we remain neutral between our interests and those of future generations? Or are we ethically permitted or even required to depart from neutrality and engage in some measure of intergenerational discounting? This Article addresses the problem of intergenerational discounting by drawing on two different intellectual traditions: the social welfare function (“SWF”) tradition in welfare economics, and scholarship on “prioritarianism” in moral philosophy. Unlike utilitarians, prioritarians are sensitive to the distribution of well-being. They give greater weight to well-being changes affecting (...)
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  4. Emanuel Agius & Salvino Busuttil (eds.) (1994). What Future for Future Generations?: A Programme of Unesco and the International Environment Institute. Foundation for International Studies, University of Malta.
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  5. Gustaf Arrhenius, Future Generations: A Challenge for Moral Theory.
    FD-Diss., Uppsala: University Printers, 2000 (ix+225 pages).
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  6. Gustaf Arrhenius, The Paradoxes of Future Generations and Normative Theory.
    As the title of this paper indicates, I’m going to discuss what we ought to do in situations where our actions affect future generations. More specifically, I shall focus on the moral problems raised by cases where our actions affect who’s going to live, their number and their well being. I’ll start, however, with population axiology. Most discussion in population ethics has concentrated on how to evaluate populations in regard to their goodness, that is, how to order populations by the (...)
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  7. Gustaf Arrhenius (1999). Mutual Advantage Contractarianism and Future Generations. Theoria 65 (1):25-35.
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  8. Robin Attfield (2011). Nolt, Future Harm and Future Quality of Life. Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (1):11-13.
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  9. Robin Attfield (1998). Environmental Ethics and Intergenerational Equity. Inquiry 41 (2):207 – 222.
    Possible environmental and related impacts of human activity are shown to include the extinction of humanity and other sentient species, excessive human numbers, and a deteriorating quality of life (I). I proceed to argue that neither future rights, nor Kantian respect for future people's autonomy, nor a contract between the generations supplies a plausible basis of obligations with regard to future generations. Obligations concern rather promoting the well-being of the members of future generations, whoever they may be, as well as (...)
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  10. Patrik Baard (2015). Adaptive Ideals and Aspirational Goals: The Utopian Ideals and Realist Constraints of Climate Change Adaptation. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (4):739-757.
    There is a growing need to implement anticipatory climate change adaptation measures, particularly in vulnerable sectors, such as in agriculture. However, setting goals to adapt is wrought with several challenges. This paper discusses two sets of challenges to goals of anticipatory adaptation, of empirical and normative character. The first set of challenges concern issues such as the extent to which the climate will change, the local impacts of such changes, and available adaptive responses. In the second set of uncertainties are (...)
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  11. Patrik Baard & Karin Edvardsson Björnberg (2015). Cautious Utopias: Environmental Goal-Setting with Long Time Frames. Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (2):187-201.
    Sustainable development is a common goal in the public sector but may be difficult to implement due to epistemic uncertainties and the long time frames required. This paper proposes that some of these problems can be solved by formulating cautious utopias, entailing a relationship between means and goals differing from both utopian and realistic goal-setting. Cautiously utopian goals are believed, but not certain, to be achievable and to remain desirable, but are open to future adjustments due to changing desires and/or (...)
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  12. Antoonde Baets (2004). A Declaration of the Responsibilities of Present Generations Toward Past Generations. History and Theory 43 (4):130–164.
  13. Bertram Bandman (1982). Do Future Generations Have the Right to Breathe Clean Air? A Note. Political Theory 10 (1):95-102.
  14. Volkert Beekman (2004). Sustainable Development and Future Generations. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 17 (1):3-22.
    This paper argues, mainly on the basis of Rawls''s savings principle, Wissenburg''s restraint principle, Passmore's chains of love, and De-Shalit's transgenerational communities, for a double interpretation of sustainable development as a principle of intergenerational justice and a future-oriented green ideal. This double interpretation (1) embraces the restraint principle and the argument that no individualcan claim an unconditional right to destroy environmental goods as a baseline that could justify directive strategies for government intervention in non-sustainable lifestyles, and (2) suggests that people's (...)
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  15. Brian Berkey (forthcoming). Human Rights, Harm, and Climate Change Mitigation. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
    A number of philosophers have resisted impersonal explanations of our obligation to mitigate climate change, and have developed accounts according to which these obligations are explained by human rights or harm-based considerations. In this paper I argue that several of these attempts to explain our mitigation obligations without appealing to impersonal factors fail, since they either cannot account for a plausibly robust obligation to mitigate, or have implausible implications in other cases. I conclude that despite the appeal of the motivations (...)
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  16. Brian Berkey (2014). State Action, State Policy, and the Doing/Allowing Distinction. Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (2):147-149.
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  17. Brian Berkey (2014). Climate Change, Moral Intuitions, and Moral Demandingness. Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 4 (2):157-189.
    In this paper I argue that reflection on the threat of climate change brings out a distinct challenge for appeals to what I call the Anti-Demandingness Intuition, according to which a view about our obligations can be rejected if it would, as a general matter, require very large sacrifices of us. The ADI is often appealed to in order to reject the view that well off people are obligated to make substantial sacrifices in order to aid the global poor, but (...)
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  18. Paweł Bernat (2013). A Way Out From the Wrongful Environmental Mindset: The Origins and Possible Solutions to the Tragedy of the Commons. Philosophy and Practice of Sustainable Development.
    The paper indicates and discusses three phenomena identified as the main origins of the mindset responsible for the tragedy of the global commons, namely (1) Cornucopianism, (2) rationality of self-interest and egoism, and (3) the presupposed instrumental value of nature. It is demonstrated that all those theses can be philosophically and ethically dismissed and thus, the wrongful environmental mindset built around them should be rejected. It is further argued that the up-to-date solutions to the tragedy are unsatisfactory. Moreover, the tragedy (...)
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  19. Stephen Bickham (1981). Future Generations and Contemporary Ethical Theory. Journal of Value Inquiry 15 (2):169-177.
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  20. J. J. Boersema (2001). How to Prepare for the Unknown? On the Significance of Future Generations and Future Studies in Environmental Policy. Environmental Values 10 (1):35-58.
    The core question of this article is: how can we take account of the future and future generations if our knowledge of the future is so sparse? The importance of the future is discussed within the framework of our concept of time. After that it is argued that future generations do not constitute a new, let alone unique, element in the debate on the future. Two different routes to acquire knowledge about the future and prepare for the future are described. (...)
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  21. David Boonin-Vail (1996). Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow: Two Paradoxes About Duties to Future Generations. Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (4):267-307.
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  22. Jason Borenstein (2009). The Wisdom of Caution: Genetic Enhancement and Future Children. Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (4):517-530.
    Many scholars predict that the technology to modify unborn children genetically is on the horizon. According to supporters of genetic enhancement, allowing parents to select a child’s traits will enable him/her to experience a better life. Following their logic, the technology will not only increase our knowledge base and generate cures for genetic illness, but it may enable us to increase the intelligence, strength, and longevity of future generations as well. Yet it must be examined whether supporters of genetic enhancement, (...)
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  23. Nick Bostrom (2009). The Future of Humanity. In Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis, Evan Selinger & Søren Riis (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Technology. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    The future of humanity is often viewed as a topic for idle speculation. Yet our beliefs and assumptions on this subject matter shape decisions in both our personal lives and public policy – decisions that have very real and sometimes unfortunate consequences. It is therefore practically important to try to develop a realistic mode of futuristic thought about big picture questions for humanity. This paper sketches an overview of some recent attempts in this direction, and it offers a brief discussion (...)
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  24. Paul Bou-Habib (2010). Climate Change, Justice and Future Generations. Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (1):151-153.
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  25. Eric Brandstedt (2013). The Construction of a Sustainable Development in Times of Climate Change. Dissertation, Lund University
    This dissertation is a contribution to the debate about ‘climate justice’, i.e. a call for a just and feasible distribution of responsibility for addressing climate change. The main argument is a proposal for a cautious, practicable, and necessary step in the right direction: given the set of theoretical and practical obstacles to climate justice, we must begin by making contemporary development practices sustainable. In times of climate change, this is done by recognising and responding to the fact that emissions of (...)
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  26. Eric Brandstedt & Oksana Mont (2016). The Future is Not What It Used to Be: On the Roles and Function of Assumptions in Visions of the Future. In Max Koch & Oksana Mont (eds.), Sustainability and the Political Economy of Welfare. Routledge. pp. 59-74.
    Any future-oriented work, whether of academic or policy kind, needs a vision of the future, however vague. It is well known that such predictions are bound to be wrong, at least on the margin. The question is how to minimise that threat and make reliable assumptions. In this chapter we discuss a strategy of hypothetical retrospection. By imagining a future state of the world that is radically different from the present, we scrutinise hidden assumptions and suppositions taken for granted in (...)
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  27. Geoffrey Brennan (2007). Discounting the Future, yet Again. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 6 (3):259-284.
    discounting the future' is one on which philosophers and economists have divergent professional views. There is a lot of talking at cross-purposes across the disciplinary divide here; but there is a fair bit of confusion (I think) within disciplines as well. My aim here is essentially clarificatory. I draw several distinctions that I see as significant: • between inter-temporal and intergenerational questions • between price (discount rate) and quantity (inter-temporal and intergenerational allocations) as the ethically relevant magnitude, and • between (...)
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  28. Thom Brooks (2016). How Not to Save the Planet. Ethics, Policy and Environment 19 (2):119-135.
    Climate change presents us with perhaps the most pressing challenge today. But is it a problem we can solve? This article argues that existing conservationist and adaptation approaches fail to satisfy their objectives. A second issue that these approaches disagree about how best to end climate change, but accept that it is a problem that can be solved. I believe this view is mistaken: a future environmental catastrophe is an event we might at best postpone, but not avoid. This raises (...)
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  29. Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl, Justice Unconceived: How Posterity has Rights.
    This paper advances a rights-based approach to our relations with future generations. It first explains why an account of intergenerational relations is necessary and why a rights-centered approach represents the correct approach. While not denying that there can be more to our shared moral and political life than rights, I argue that this situation is one in which rights are the appropriate idiom. The paper then addresses the central question of how it is possible for future people to hold rights (...)
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  30. Adrian Bunn (2016). Life Extension and Future Generations. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (1):133-147.
    Future technology may dramatically extend the human lifespan. Peter Singer argues that we should reject life extension because developing it would result in a world with lower total and average happiness. Singer’s argument depends on the claim that we should maximise average happiness per moment. I will argue that developing the life-extending drug would not be impermissible because doing so will maximise average happiness per person. I offer an independent argument for why we should adopt a consequentialist principle which says (...)
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  31. Simon Caney (ed.) (forthcoming). Political Institutions for the Future: A Five-Fold Package. 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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  32. Simon Caney (2014). Climate Change, Intergenerational Equity and the Social Discount Rate. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (4):320-342.
    Climate change is projected to have very severe impacts on future generations. Given this, any adequate response to it has to consider the nature of our obligations to future generations. This paper seeks to do that and to relate this to the way that inter-generational justice is often framed by economic analyses of climate change. To do this the paper considers three kinds of considerations that, it has been argued, should guide the kinds of actions that one generation should take (...)
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  33. Simon Caney (2011). Human Rights, Responsibilities, and Climate Change. In Charles R. Beitz & Robert E. Goodin (eds.), Global Basic Rights. Oxford University Press.
  34. Simon Caney (2010). Climate Change and the Duties of the Advantaged. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 13 (1):203-228.
    Climate change poses grave threats to many people, including the most vulnerable. This prompts the question of who should bear the burden of combating ?dangerous? climate change. Many appeal to the Polluter Pays Principle. I argue that it should play an important role in any adequate analysis of the responsibility to combat climate change, but suggest that it suffers from three limitations and that it needs to be revised. I then consider the Ability to Pay Principle and consider four objections (...)
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  35. Simon Caney (2009). Climate Change and the Future: Discounting for Time, Wealth, and Risk. Journal of Social Philosophy 40 (2):163-186.
    This paper examines explore the issues of intergenerational equity raised by climate change. A number of different reasons have been suggested as to why current generations may legitimately favor devoting resources to contemporaries rather than to future generations. These - either individually or jointly - challenge the case for combating climate change. In this paper, I distinguish between three different kinds of reason for favoring contemporaries. I argue that none of these arguments is persuasive. My answer in each case appeals (...)
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  36. Simon Caney (2006). Cosmopolitan Justice, Rights, and Global Climate Change. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 19 (2).
    The paper has the following structure. In Section I, I introduce some important methodological preliminaries by asking: How should one reason about global environmental justice in general and global climate change in particular? Section II introduces the key normative argument; it argues that global climate change damages some fundamental human interests and results in a state of affairs in which the rights of many are unprotected: as such it is unjust. Section III addresses the complexities that arise from the fact (...)
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  37. Norman S. Care (1982). Future Generations, Public Policy, and the Motivation Problem. Environmental Ethics 4 (3):195-213.
    A motivation problem may arise when morally principled public policy calls for serious sacrifice, relative to ways of life and levels of well-being, on the part of the members of a free society. Apart from legal or other forms of “external” coercion, what will, could, or should move people to make the sacrifices required by morality? I explore the motivation problem in the context of morally principled public policy concerning our legacy for future generations. In this context the problem raises (...)
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  38. Francisco Javier Carod-Artal, Pablo Martinez-Martin & Antonio Pedro Vargas (forthcoming). Future Generations, Locke's Proviso and Libertarian Justice. Journal of Applied Philosophy.
  39. Kai M. A. Chan (2003). Intransitivity and Future Generations: Debunking Parfit's Mere Addition Paradox. Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (2):187–200.
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  40. T. Chappell (2001). Tae-Chang Kim and Ross Harrison Self and Future Generations: An Intercultural Conversation. Journal of Applied Philosophy 18 (1):99-102.
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  41. Elizabeth F. Cooke (2003). Germ–Line Engineering, Freedom, and Future Generations. Bioethics 17 (1):32–58.
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  42. Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues (2016). Are Future Generations That Belong to Language Minorities Entitled to Group Rights? South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):1-8.
    In this article, I investigate to what extent future generations that belong to language minorities are entitled to group rights that protect their linguistic identity. In particular, I assess whether these future generations are entitled to assistance rights, symbolic claims, self-government rights and exemptions from the law. To address this I outline three arguments supporting group rights for current generations and raise the question of whether these arguments, which are true for current generations, will also be true for future generations. (...)
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  43. Tyler Cowen (2004). Policy Implications of Zero Discounting: An Exploration in Politics and Morality. Social Philosophy and Policy 21 (1):121-140.
    What are our political obligations to future generations? How does morality suggest that we weight current interests against future interests? Do politics or markets place greater weight upon interests in the very distant future? How should we discount future costs and benefits?
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  44. Anna Corbo Crehan (1999). The Stolen Generations. Professional Ethics, a Multidisciplinary Journal 7 (3):49-65.
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  45. Joseph L. Daleiden (1998). The Science of Morality: The Individual, Community, and Future Generations. Prometheus Books.
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  46. Richard S. Davis (1982). Responsibilities to Future Generations: Environmental Ethics. Environmental Ethics 4 (1):75-83.
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  47. Wayne H. Davis (1970). Alternation of Generations in Man. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 13 (2):264-266.
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  48. Avner De-Shalit (2005). Why Posterity Matters: Environmental Policies and Future Generations. Routledge.
    The first comprehensive philosophical examination of our duties to future generations, Dr de-Shalit argues that they are a matter of justice, not charity or supererogation.
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  49. Avner de-Shalit (1992). Community and the Rights of Future Generations: A Reply to Robert Elliot. Journal of Applied Philosophy 9 (1):105-115.
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  50. Jan Deckers (2011). Negative “GHIs,” the Right to Health Protection, and Future Generations. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 8 (2):165-176.
    The argument has been made that future generations of human beings are being harmed unjustifiably by the actions individuals commit today. This paper addresses what it might mean to harm future generations, whether we might harm them, and what our duties toward future generations might be. After introducing the Global Health Impact (GHI) concept as a unit of measurement that evaluates the effects of human actions on the health of all organisms, an incomplete theory of human justice is proposed. Having (...)
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