Journal of Social Philosophy 48 (1):58-70 (2017)

Aaron Griffith
College of William and Mary
Many are committed to the idea that the present generation has obligations to future generations, for example, obligations to preserve the environment and certain natural resources for those generations. However, some philosophers want to explain why we have these obligations in terms of correlative rights that future persons have against persons in the present. Attributing such rights to future persons is controversial, for there seem to be compelling arguments against the position. According to the “nonexistence” argument, future persons cannot have rights (and so should not be attributed rights) because they do not exist. According to the “no-satisfaction” argument, future persons cannot have a right to resources that do not exist at the time of their existence because such a right could not, in principle, be satisfied. In this paper, I will argue that an eternalist ontology of time provides the resources for satisfactorily responding to both the nonexistence and the no-satisfaction arguments.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/josp.12180
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 51,554
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.
On the Plurality of Worlds.Allen Stairs - 1988 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):333-352.
A Defense of Presentism.Ned Markosian - 2004 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 1:47-82.

View all 55 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Long-Term Urgent Interests and Human Rights Practice: A Challenge to the Political Conception.Andre Santos Campos - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-22.
Intergenerational Justice Today.Andre Santos Campos - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (3).

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Rights of Future People.Robert Elliot - 1989 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 6 (2):159-170.
Conservation, Foresight, and the Future Generations Problem.Steve Vanderheiden - 2006 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):337 – 352.
Possible Persons and the Problems of Posterity.William Grey - 1996 - Environmental Values 5 (2):161 - 179.
The Epistemology of Human Rights.Alan Gewirth - 1984 - Social Philosophy and Policy 1 (2):1.
Future Generations, Natural Resources, and Property Rights.Gillian Brock - 1998 - Ethics and the Environment 3 (2):119-130.
Justice Between Generations.John William Clark Wolf - 1993 - Dissertation, The University of Arizona


Added to PP index

Total views
60 ( #154,750 of 2,331,151 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #60,525 of 2,331,151 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes