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Future Generations in John Rawls' Theory of Justice

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One question addressed by John Rawls in "A Theory of Justice" (1971) is that of justice between the generations. The question presents Rawls with certain difficulties which stem from the fact that in his theory, Hume's conditions of justice are spliced together with Kant's principle of universalisation. The question of future generations strains this construct to breaking point. But even if this problem can be solved, Rawls's justification approach remains unsatisfactory, since he discusses intergenerational justice only under the aspect of just saving. It will be shown that this approach implies a concept of weak sustainability which is not a sufficient condition for the long-term preservation of vital life-sustaining resources.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by authorisation of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), is an international, peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1907. It features original articles on philosophical research on legal and social questions, covering all aspects of social and legal life.
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