Parenting and Intergenerational Justice: Why Collective Obligations Towards Future Generations Take Second Place to Individual Responsibility [Book Review]

Abstract
Theories of intergenerational obligations usually take the shape of theories of distributive (social) justice. The complexities involved in intergenerational obligations force theorists to simplify. In this article I unpack two popular simplifications: the inevitability of future generations, and the Hardinesque assumption that future individuals are a burden on society but a benefit to parents. The first assumption obscures the fact that future generations consist of individuals whose existence can be a matter of voluntary choice, implying that there are individuals who are responsible and accountable for that choice and for its consequences. The second assumption ignores the fact that the benefits and burdens of future individuals are complex, and different for different “beneficiaries” or “victims.” Introducing individual responsibility for procreation as a (crucially) relevant variable, and allowing a more sophisticated understanding of the impact of new individuals, generates grounds to prioritize the individual’s interest in responsibility for (creating and equipping) future individuals over any collective intergenerational obligation. I illustrate this by introducing a series of moral duties that take precedence over, and perhaps even void, possible collective redistributive duties
Keywords Distributive justice  Future generations  Justice between generations  Responsibility
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9283-1
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,727
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Natural Justice.K. G. Binmore - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
An Essay on Rights.Hillel Steiner - 1994 - Oxford, Uk ;Blackwell.

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Should We Seek a Better Future?Ernest Partridge - 1998 - Ethics and the Environment 3 (1):81-95.
Intergenerational Justice: The Rights of Future People or the Duty of Fair Play.Makoto Usami - 2011 - Tokyo Institute of Technology Department of Social Engineering Discussion Paper (2011-05):1-19.
Economics, Ethics, and Long-Term Environmental Damages.Clive L. Spash - 1993 - Environmental Ethics 15 (2):117-132.
Intergenerational Justice.Axel Gosseries - 2003 - In LaFollette H. (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Intergenerational Justice.Lukas Meyer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Non-Identity Problem, Collective Rights, and the Threshold Conception of Harm.Makoto Usami - 2011 - Tokyo Institute of Technology Department of Social Engineering Discussion Paper (2011-04):1-17.
Conservation, Foresight, and the Future Generations Problem.Steve Vanderheiden - 2006 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):337 – 352.
Added to PP index
2010-07-26

Total downloads
43 ( #125,047 of 2,197,335 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #61,579 of 2,197,335 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature