About this topic
Summary This category covers two major issues concerning the ethics of future persons: (1) Population axiology, or what principles determine the value of a population.  For example, does an additional happy life make a positive contribution to the value of the world, all else equal?  (2) The non-identity problem, and the moral evaluation of actions that determine who will exist in the future.
Key works Parfit 1984 introduced both the non-identity problem and the fundamental problems of population axiology.  Much subsequent discussion has concerned whether we should accept the repugnant conclusion, or whether there is any plausible way to avoid it.  Arrhenius 2000 offers an impossibility theorem, showing that several prima facie plausible axioms cannot be jointly held.  Such difficulties have led several philosophers to embrace the repugnant conclusion — Huemer 2008 is a representative example.  Others, following Hurka 1982, have rejected the mere-addition principle: the idea that adding a happy life cannot (all else equal) make a population worse.
Introductions Parfit 2004 offers a streamlined introduction to the problems of population axiology. Roberts 2011 has an accessible discussion of the intuitive "Asymmetry" according to which we are required not to bring into existence miserable lives, but are permitted not to bring into existence happy lives.
Related categories

211 found
1 — 50 / 211
  1. added 2019-01-23
    Population Axiology and the Possibility of a Fourth Category of Absolute Value.Johan E. Gustafsson - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy.
    Critical-Range Utilitarianism is a variant of Total Utilitarianism which can avoid both the Repugnant Conclusion and the Sadistic Conclusion in population ethics. Yet Standard Critical-Range Utilitarianism entails the Weak Sadistic Conclusion, that is, it entails that each population consisting of lives at a bad well-being level is not worse than some population consisting of lives at a good well-being level. In this paper, I defend a version of Critical-Range Utilitarianism which does not entail the Weak Sadistic Conclusion. This is made (...)
  2. added 2019-01-14
    No Harm Done? An Experimental Approach to the Non-Identity Problem.Matthew Kopec & Justin P. Bruner - manuscript
    A driving force behind much of the literature on the non-identity problem is the widely shared intuition that actions or policies that change who comes into existence don't, as a result, lose their morally problematic features. We hypothesize that this intuition isn’t entirely shared by the general public, which might have widespread implications concerning how to best motivate public support for large-scale, identity-affecting policies like those involved in climate change mitigation. To test our hypothesis, we ran a behavioural economic experiment, (...)
  3. added 2019-01-14
    The Social Cost of Carbon: Valuing Inequality, Risk, and Population for Climate Policy.Marc Fleurbaey, Maddalena Ferranna, Mark Budolfson, Francis Dennig, Kian Mintz-Woo, Robert Socolow, Dean Spears & Stéphane Zuber - 2019 - The Monist 102 (1):84-109.
    We analyze the role of ethical values in the determination of the social cost of carbon, arguing that the familiar debate about discounting is too narrow. Other ethical issues are equally important to computing the social cost of carbon, and we highlight inequality, risk, and population ethics. Although the usual approach, in the economics of cost-benefit analysis for climate policy, is confined to a utilitarian axiology, the methodology of the social cost of carbon is rather flexible and can be expanded (...)
  4. added 2018-11-14
    Acting on Essentially Comparative Goodness.John Cusbert - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (2):73-83.
    Temkin's Essentially Comparative View of moral ideals says that goodness is comparison set dependent: the goodness of an outcome is relativized to a set of outcomes. This view does not entail that betterness is intransitive; indeed, it provides the resources for maintaining transitivity. However, it does entail that the structure of goodness is more complex than is standardly supposed. It thereby demands a modification of the standard connection between goodness and decision. I set out this challenge, canvas some options, and (...)
  5. added 2018-11-12
    Moral Uncertainty About Population Axiology.Hilary Greaves & Toby Ord - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (2):135-167.
    Given the deep disagreement surrounding population axiology, one should remain uncertain about which theory is best. However, this uncertainty need not leave one neutral about which acts are better or worse. We show that, as the number of lives at stake grows, the Expected Moral Value approach to axiological uncertainty systematically pushes one toward choosing the option preferred by the Total View and critical-level views, even if one’s credence in those theories is low.
  6. added 2018-10-22
    Population Ethics, Social Choice Theory, and Two Problems in the Measurement of Economic Poverty.Sreenivasan Subramanian & Aparajay Subramanian - 2016 - Éthique Et Économique 13 (1).
  7. added 2018-05-21
    Imprecise Lexical Superiority and the (Slightly Less) Repugnant Conclusion.James Fanciullo - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    Recently, Derek Parfit has offered a novel solution to the “Repugnant Conclusion” that compared with the existence of many people whose quality of life would be very high, there is some much larger number of people whose existence would be better but whose lives would be barely worth living. On this solution, qualitative differences between two populations will often entail that the populations are merely “imprecisely” comparable. According to Parfit, this fact allows us to avoid the Repugnant Conclusion without violating (...)
  8. added 2018-04-16
    A Consequentialist Account of Narveson’s Dictum.John Cusbert & Robyn Kath - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    In population ethics, Narveson’s dictum states: morality favours making people happy, but is neutral about making happy people. The thought is intuitively appealing; for example, it prohibits creating new people at the expense of those who already exist. However, there are well-known obstacles to accommodating Narveson’s dictum within a standard framework of overall betterness: any attempt to do so violates very plausible formal features of betterness. Therefore, the prevailing view is that the dictum is off-limits to consequentialists, who are thereby (...)
  9. added 2018-04-16
    Engineering Life Expectancy and Non-Identity Cases.Tatjana Višak - 2018 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2):281-293.
    In his paper “Eating Animals the Nice Way” McMahan : 66–76, 2008) explores whether there are ways of routinely using non-human animals for human consumption that are morally acceptable. He dismisses a practice of benign animal husbandry, in which animals are killed prematurely and believes that a practice in which animals were engineered to drop down dead instantaneously at the same age would be equally wrong, even though it would not involve killing. Yet, McMahan considers his intuition that both practices (...)
  10. added 2018-04-16
    Some Possibilities in Population Axiology.Teruji Thomas - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):807-832.
    It is notoriously difficult to find an intuitively satisfactory rule for evaluating populations based on the welfare of the people in them. Standard examples, like total utilitarianism, either entail the Repugnant Conclusion or in some other way contradict common intuitions about the relative value of populations. Several philosophers have presented formal arguments that seem to show that this happens of necessity: our core intuitions stand in contradiction. This paper assesses the state of play, focusing on the most powerful of these (...)
  11. added 2018-04-16
    Egalitarianism About Expected Utility.Toby Handfield - 2018 - Ethics 128 (3):603-611.
    Alex Voorhoeve and Marc Fleurbaey have developed a novel theory of distributive ethics, which incorporates a concern for inequality in both outcomes and life chances. This article demonstrates that their attempt to measure life chances is problematic for two reasons. First, it cannot be generalized to variable population cases without inheriting the problems of average utilitarianism. Second, it does not consistently respect the very ideas that were used to motivate the proposal.
  12. added 2018-04-16
    Population and Having Children Now.Jan Narveson - 2017 - Journal of Practical Ethics 5 (2):49-61.
    This paper aims to state the obvious – the commonsense, rational approach to child-producing. We have no general obligation to promote either the “general happiness” or the equalization of this and that. We have children if we want them, if their life prospects are decent – and if we can afford them, which is a considerable part of their life prospects being OK – and provided that in doing so we do not inflict injury on others. It’s extremely difficult to (...)
  13. added 2018-04-16
    The Intuition of Neutrality and Consequentialist Thinking : Potential Antinatalist Implications.Pettersson Karl - unknown
    Many people seem to share some version of what has been called the “intuition of neutrality” aboutcreating new people, which, roughly, says that there exists a certain range of levels of well-beingsuch that creating people within this range is, in itself, morally neutral, but creating people with alevel of well-being outside this range is not morally neutral. In this paper, I will discuss differentinterpretations of this intuition, and specifically distinguish between what I will call counterfactualinterpretations and Do-interpretations of the intuition. (...)
  14. added 2017-12-02
    An Intrapersonal Addition Paradox.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Ethics 129 (2):309-343.
    I present a new argument for the repugnant conclusion. The core of the argument is a risky, intrapersonal analogue of the mere addition paradox. The argument is important for three reasons. First, some solutions to Parfit’s original puzzle do not obviously generalize to the intrapersonal puzzle in a plausible way. Second, it raises independently important questions about how to make decisions under uncertainty for the sake of people whose existence might depend on what we do. And, third, it suggests various (...)
  15. added 2017-12-01
    History And Persons.Guy Kahane - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The non-identity problem is usually considered in the forward-looking direction but a version of it also applies to the past, due to the fact that even minor historical changes would have affected the whole subsequent sequence of births, dramatically changing who comes to exist next. This simple point is routinely overlooked by familiar attitudes and evaluative judgments about the past, even those of sophisticated historians. I shall argue, however, that it means that when we feel sadness about some historical tragedy, (...)
  16. added 2017-11-28
    Incommensurability in Population Ethics.Jacob Nebel - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    Values are incommensurable when they cannot be measured on a single cardinal scale. Many philosophers suggest that incommensurability can help us solve the problems of population ethics. I agree. But some philosophers claim that populations bear incommensurable values merely because they contain different numbers of people, perhaps within some range. I argue that mere differences in how many people exist, even within some range, do not suffice for incommensurability. I argue that the intuitive neutrality of creating happy people is better (...)
  17. added 2017-10-10
    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 (...)
  18. added 2017-08-01
    Spectrum Arguments and Hypersensitivity.Theron Gene Pummer - 2017 - Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    Larry Temkin famously argues that what he calls spectrum arguments yield strong reason to reject Transitivity, according to which the ‘all-things-considered better than’ relation is transitive. Spectrum arguments do reveal that the conjunctions of independently plausible claims are inconsistent with Transitivity. But I argue that there is very strong independent reason to reject such conjunctions of claims, and thus that the fact that they are inconsistent with Transitivity does not yield strong reason to reject Transitivity.
  19. added 2017-07-08
    Climate Change and Optimum Population.Hilary Greaves - manuscript
    Overpopulation is often identified as one of the key drivers of climate change. Further, it is often thought that the mechanism behind this is obvious: 'more people means more greenhouse gas emissions'. However, in light of the fact that climate change depends most closely on cumulative emissions rather than on emissions rates, the relationship between population size and climate change is more subtle than this. Reducing the size of instantaneous populations can fruitfully be thought of as spreading out a fixed (...)
  20. added 2017-07-08
    Moral Uncertainty About Population Ethics.Hilary Greaves & Toby Ord - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Given the deep disagreement surrounding population axiology, one should remain uncertain about which theory is best. However, this uncertainty need not leave one neutral about which acts are better or worse. We show that as the number of lives at stake grows, the Expected Moral Value approach to axiological uncertainty systematically pushes one towards choosing the option preferred by the Total and Critical Level views, even if one’s credence in those theories is low.
  21. added 2017-07-08
    Discounting Future Health.Hilary Greaves - forthcoming - In Emanuel Norheim (ed.), Global health priority-setting: Cost-effectiveness and beyond. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In carrying out cost-benefit or cost-effective analysis, a discount rate should be applied to some kinds of future benefits and costs. It is controversial, though, whether future health is in this class. I argue that one of the standard arguments for discounting (from diminishing marginal returns) is inapplicable to the case of health, while another (favouring a pure rate of time preference) is unsound in any case. However, there are two other reasons that might support a positive discount rate for (...)
  22. added 2017-07-08
    Discounting for Public Policy: A Survey.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy (3):391-439.
    This article is a critical survey of the debate over the value of the social discount rate, with a particular focus on climate change. The ma- jority of the material surveyed is from the economics rather than from the philosophy literature, but the emphasis of the survey itself is on founda- tions in ethical and other normative theory rather than highly technical details. I begin by locating the standard approach to discounting within the overall landscape of ethical theory, and explaining (...)
  23. added 2017-07-08
    Population Axiology.Hilary Greaves - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):e12442.
    Population axiology is the study of the conditions under which one state of affairs is better than another, when the states of affairs in ques- tion may differ over the numbers and the identities of the persons who ever live. Extant theories include totalism, averagism, variable value theories, critical level theories, and “person-affecting” theories. Each of these the- ories is open to objections that are at least prima facie serious. A series of impossibility theorems shows that this is no coincidence: (...)
  24. added 2017-05-23
    Effective Altruism and the Altruistic Repugnant Conclusion.Pellegrino Gianfranco - 2017 - Essays in Philosophy 18 (1).
    Effective altruism is committed to Altruistic Maximization – the claim that any impact of giving to charities ought to be maximized at the margins and counterfactually. This may lead to counterintuitive or contradictory conclusions in certain cases. For instance, when we can bring about a substantial benefit to few or a tiny benefit to a larger number at the same cost, spreading of benefits across a great number of recipients can compensate substantial loss for fewer people. However, sometimes the perspective (...)
  25. added 2017-04-10
    On the Survival of Humanity.Johann Frick - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3):344-367.
    What moral reasons, if any, do we have to ensure the long-term survival of humanity? This article contrastively explores two answers to this question: according to the first, we should ensure the survival of humanity because we have reason to maximize the number of happy lives that are ever lived, all else equal. According to the second, seeking to sustain humanity into the future is the appropriate response to the final value of humanity itself. Along the way, the article discusses (...)
  26. added 2017-04-10
    Probability in Ethics.David McCarthy - 2016 - In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Probability. Oxford University Press. pp. 705–737.
    The article is a plea for ethicists to regard probability as one of their most important concerns. It outlines a series of topics of central importance in ethical theory in which probability is implicated, often in a surprisingly deep way, and lists a number of open problems. Topics covered include: interpretations of probability in ethical contexts; the evaluative and normative significance of risk or uncertainty; uses and abuses of expected utility theory; veils of ignorance; Harsanyi’s aggregation theorem; population size problems; (...)
  27. added 2017-03-15
    The Worseness of Nonexistence.Theron Pummer - forthcoming - In Saving People from the Harm of Death. Oxford University Press.
    Most believe that it is worse for a person to die than to continue to exist with a good life. At the same time, many believe that it is not worse for a merely possible person never to exist than to exist with a good life. I argue that if the underlying properties that make us the sort of thing we essentially are can come in small degrees, then to maintain this commonly-held pair of beliefs we will have to embrace (...)
  28. added 2017-03-15
    Review of Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics. [REVIEW]Ashley Piggins - 2007 - Economics and Philosophy 23 (2):256-260.
  29. added 2017-03-11
    Representing an Ordering When the Population Varies.John Broome - 2003 - Social Choice and Welfare 20:243-6.
    This note describes a domain of distributions of wellbeing, in which different distributions may have different populations. It proves a representation theorem for an ordering defined on this domain.
  30. added 2017-03-02
    Priority, Not Equality, for Possible People.Jacob M. Nebel - 2017 - Ethics 127 (4):896-911.
    How should we choose between uncertain prospects in which different possible people might exist at different levels of wellbeing? Alex Voorhoeve and Marc Fleurbaey offer an egalitarian answer to this question. I give some reasons to reject their answer and then sketch an alternative, which I call person-affecting prioritarianism.
  31. added 2017-02-20
    A Portable Defense of the Procreation Asymmetry.Jake Earl - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3):178-199.
    The Procreation Asymmetry holds that we have strong moral reasons not to create miserable people for their own sakes, but no moral reasons to create happy people for their own sakes. To defend this conjunction against an argument that it leads to inconsistency, I show how recognizing ‘creation’ as a temporally extended process allows us to revise the conjuncts in a way that preserves their intuitive force. This defense of the Procreation Asymmetry is preferable to others because it does not (...)
  32. added 2017-02-20
    XIII—Moral Theory and Global Population.Alan Carter - 1999 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (3):289-313.
  33. added 2017-02-20
    Population Ethics. On Parfit's Views Concerning Future Generations.W. Pulvertaft - 1991 - Danish Yearbook of Philosophy 26.
  34. added 2017-01-17
    Does the Repugnant Conclusion Have Any Probative Force?Cowie Christopher - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3021-3039.
    In engaging with the repugnant conclusion many contemporary philosophers, economists and social scientists make claims about what a minimally good life is like. For example, some claim that such a life is quite good by contemporary standards, and use this to defend classical utilitarianism, whereas others claim that it is not, and use this to uphold the challenge that the repugnant conclusion poses to classical utilitarianism. I argue that many of these claims—by both sides—are not well-founded. We have no sufficiently (...)
  35. added 2016-12-17
    Persons and Value: A Thesis in Population Axiology.Simon Beard - unknown
    My thesis demonstrates that, despite a number of impossibility results, a satisfactory and coherent theory of population ethics is possible. It achieves this by exposing and undermining certain key assumptions that relate to the nature of welfare and personal identity. I analyse a range of arguments against the possibility of producing a satisfactory population axiology that have been proposed by Derek Parfit, Larry Temkin, Tyler Cowen and Gustaf Arrhenius. I conclude that these results pose a real and significant challenge. However, (...)
  36. added 2016-12-08
    The Identity Problem.J. David Velleman - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (3):221 - 244.
  37. added 2016-12-08
    Identifying and Dissolving the Non-Identity Problem.Rivka Weinberg - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (1):3-18.
    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 (...)
  38. added 2016-12-08
    Prioritarianism for Variable Populations.Campbell Brown - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 134 (3):325-361.
    Philosophical discussions of prioritarianism, the view that we ought to give priority to those who are worse off, have hitherto been almost exclusively focused on cases involving a fixed population. The aim of this paper is to extend the discussion of prioritarianism to encompass also variable populations. I argue that prioritarianism, in its simplest formulation, is not tenable in this area. However, I also propose several revised formulations that, so I argue, show more promise.
  39. added 2016-12-08
    Problems in Population Theory.Juha Raikka - 2000 - Journal of Social Philosophy 31 (4):401-413.
  40. added 2016-12-05
    Harm, Benefit, and Non-Identity.Per Algander - 2013 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This thesis in an invistigation into the concept of "harm" and its moral relevance. A common view is that an analysis of harm should include a counterfactual condition: an act harms a person iff it makes that person worse off. A common objection to the moral relevance of harm, thus understood, is the non-identity problem. -/- This thesis criticises the counterfactual condition, argues for an alternative analysis and that harm plays two important normative roles. -/- The main ground for rejecting (...)
  41. added 2016-12-02
    Can Cogency Vanish?Gilbert Plumer - 2016 - Cogency: Journal of Reasoning and Argumentation 8 (1):89-109.
    This paper considers whether universally—for all (known) rational beings—an argument scheme or pattern can go from being cogent (well-reasoned) to fallacious. This question has previously received little attention, despite the centrality of the concepts of cogency, scheme, and fallaciousness. I argue that cogency has vanished in this way for the following scheme, a common type of impersonal means-end reasoning: X is needed as a basic necessity or protection of human lives, therefore, X ought to be secured if possible. As it (...)
  42. added 2016-11-02
    The Value of Existence.Wlodek Rabinowicz & Gustaf Arrhenius - 2015 - In Iwao Hirose & Jonas Olson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory. Oxford University Press USA.
    Can it be better or worse for a person to exist than not to exist at all? This old and challenging existential question has been raised anew in contemporary moral philosophy, mainly for two reasons. First, traditional “impersonal” ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, have counterintuitive implications in population ethics, for example, the repugnant conclusion. Second, it has seemed evident to many that an outcome can be better than another only if it is better for someone, and that only moral theories (...)
  43. added 2016-10-16
    Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics.Charles Blackorby, Walter Bossert & David J. Donaldson - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book presents an exploration of the idea of the common or social good, extended so that alternatives with different populations can be ranked. The approach is, in the main, welfarist, basing rankings on the well-being, broadly conceived, of those who are alive. The axiomatic method is employed, and topics investigated include: the measurement of individual well-being, social attitudes toward inequality of well-being, the main classes of population principles, principles that provide incomplete rankings, principles that rank uncertain alternatives, best choices (...)
  44. added 2016-10-03
    Rethinking the Asymmetry.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2):167-177.
    According to the Asymmetry, we’ve strong moral reason to prevent miserable lives from coming into existence, but no moral reason to bring happy lives into existence. This procreative asymmetry is often thought to be part of commonsense morality, however theoretically puzzling it might prove to be. I argue that this is a mistake. The Asymmetry is merely prima facie intuitive, and loses its appeal on further reflection. Mature commonsense morality recognizes no fundamental procreative asymmetry. It may recognize some superficially similar (...)
  45. added 2016-08-15
    The Population Ethics of Belief: In Search of an Epistemic Theory X.Richard Pettigrew - 2018 - Noûs 52 (2):336-372.
    Consider Phoebe and Daphne. Phoebe has credences in 1 million propositions. Daphne, on the other hand, has credences in all of these propositions, but she's also got credences in 999 million other propositions. Phoebe's credences are all very accurate. Each of Daphne's credences, in contrast, are not very accurate at all; each is a little more accurate than it is inaccurate, but not by much. Whose doxastic state is better, Phoebe's or Daphne's? It is clear that this question is analogous (...)
  46. added 2016-05-11
    Population Ethics and Different‐Number‐Based Imprecision.Gustaf Arrhenius - 2016 - Theoria 82 (2):166-181.
    Recently, in his Rolf Schock Prize Lecture, Derek Parfit has suggested a novel way of avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion by introducing what he calls “imprecision” in value comparisons. He suggests that in a range of important cases, populations of different sizes are only imprecisely comparable. Parfit suggests that this feature of value comparisons opens up a way of avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion without implying other counterintuitive conclusions, and thus solves one of the major challenges in ethics. In this article, I (...)
  47. added 2016-05-10
    Asymmetric Population Axiology: Deliberative Neutrality Delivered.Kalle Grill - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    Two related asymmetries have been discussed in relation to the ethics of creating new lives: First, we seem to have strong moral reason to avoid creating lives that are not worth living, but no moral reason to create lives that are worth living. Second, we seem to have strong moral reason to improve the wellbeing of existing lives, but, again, no moral reason to create lives that are worth living. Both asymmetries have proven very difficult to account for in any (...)
  48. added 2016-05-10
    Can We Avoid the Repugnant Conclusion?Derek Parfit - 2016 - Theoria 82 (2):110-127.
    According to the Repugnant Conclusion: Compared with the existence of many people who would all have some very high quality of life, there is some much larger number of people whose existence would be better, even though these people would all have lives that were barely worth living. I suggest some ways in which we might be able to avoid this conclusion. I try to defend a strong form of lexical superiority.
  49. added 2016-03-17
    Epigenetics and Future Generations.Lorenzo del Savio, Michele Loi & Elia Stupka - 2015 - Bioethics 29 (8):580-587.
    Recent evidence of intergenerational epigenetic programming of disease risk broadens the scope of public health preventive interventions to future generations, i.e. non existing people. Due to the transmission of epigenetic predispositions, lifestyles such as smoking or unhealthy diet might affect the health of populations across several generations. While public policy for the health of future generations can be justified through impersonal considerations, such as maximizing aggregate well-being, in this article we explore whether there are rights-based obligations supervening on intergenerational epigenetic (...)
  50. added 2016-03-16
    The Moral Status of Potential People.Gustaf Arrhenius - manuscript
    It has been known for quite a while that traditional ethical theories have very counterintuitive and paradoxical implications for questions concerning procreation and our moral duties to future generations. Classical Utilitarianism, for example, seems to imply that we have a moral duty to procreate and that we should try to have as many off-springs as possible. More disturbingly, it implies Derek Parfit’s well-known Repugnant Conclusion.
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