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On the Moral Considerability of Homo sapiens and Other Species

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It is sometimes claimed that as members of the species Homo sapiens we have a responsibility to promote the good of Homo sapiens itself (distinct from the good of its individual members). Lawrence Johnson has recently defended this claim as part of his approach to resolving the problem of future generations. We show that there are several difficulties with Johnson's argument, many of which are likely to attend any attempt to establish the moral considerability of Homo sapiens or species generally. Further, even if Homo sapiens were morally considerable, this would not ground an adequate response to the problem of future generations. The sort of moral considerability that would be appropriate to Homo sapiens, or species generally, would not be as robust nor have the implications that many have supposed.
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Keywords: Homo sapiens; future generations; interests; moral considerability; species

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-02-01

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  • 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 a Journal Impact Factor (2016) of 1.279.
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