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Future Generations and Contemporary Ethics

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Abstract:

Future generations do not exist, and are not determinate in their make-up. The moral significance of future generations cannot be accounted for on the basis of a purely individualistic ethic. Yet future generations are morally significant. The Person-Affecting Principle, that (roughly) only acts which are likely to affect particular individuals are morally significant, must be augmented in such a way as to take into account the moral significance of Homo sapiens, a holistic entity which certainly does exist. Recent contributions to Environmental Values by Alan Carter and Ernest Partridge are criticised (but not entirely rejected).

Keywords: future generations; holistic ethics; individualistic ethics; person-affecting principle

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3197/096327103129341414

Publication date: 2003-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2015) of 1.311.
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