Utilitas 26 (1):23-33 (2014)

Justin Weinberg
University of South Carolina
Suppose the only difference between the effects of two actions is to whom they apply: either to parties who would -- or would not -- exist if the actions were not performed. Is this a morally significant difference? This is one of the central questions raised by the Non-Identity Problem. Derek Parfit answers no, defending what he calls the ‘No-Difference View’. I argue that Parfit is mistaken and that sometimes this difference is morally significant. I do this by formulating a familiar kind of example in a new way. I make use of some findings in social psychology to help deflect counterexamples to my view. I then show how my view withstands Parfit's latest argument in favour of the No-Difference View. I conclude with a brief discussion of some questions my argument raises for consequentialist moral theory
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Reprint years 2013, 2014
DOI 10.1017/s0953820813000125
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
Can We Harm and Benefit in Creating?Elizabeth Harman - 2004 - Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1):89–113.
Harming Future People.Matthew Hanser - 1990 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 19 (1):47-70.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Harm Based Solution to the Non-Identity Problem.Molly Gardner - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:427-444.
On the Strength of the Reason Against Harming.Molly Gardner - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (1):73-87.
No Harm Done? An Experimental Approach to the Nonidentity Problem.Matthew Kopec & Justin Bruner - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (1):169-189.

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