Future Generations: Present Harms: John O'Neill

Philosophy 68 (263):35-51 (1993)

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There is a special problem with respect to our obligations to future generations which is that we can benefit or harm them but that they cannot benefit or harm us. Goodin summarizes the point well: No analysis of intergenerational justice that is cast even vaguely in terms of reciprocity can hope to succeed. The reason is the one which Addison… puts into the mouth of an Old Fellow of College, who when he was pressed by the Society to come into something that might rebound to the good of their Successors, grew very peevish. ‘We are always doing’ says he, ‘something for Posterity, but I would fain see Posterity do something for us’
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DOI 10.1017/S003181910004002X
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