The Strings Attached to Bringing Future Generations into Existence

Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (5):857-869 (2021)
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Abstract

Many people believe that we have moral duties towards those we bring into existence in the short term: our children. Many people also believe that we have moral duties towards those we bring into existence in the long term: future generations. In this article, I explore how these beliefs are connected. I argue that the present generation is morally responsible for future generations in virtue of bringing them into existence. This responsibility entails moral duties to ensure that future people have adequate life prospects. These duties are held directly towards future generations. I argue that this direct argument can overcome challenges that indirect arguments, which justify moral duties concerning future generations via moral duties towards present children, face. The upshot is that considerations from procreative ethics help to illustrate that the present generation stands in a morally relevant special relationship to future generations, a fact that is often overlooked in intergenerational ethics.

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References found in this work

Wronging Future Children.K. Lindsey Chambers - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.

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