Future Generations

Edited by Ori Herstein (King's College London, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
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  1. added 2019-07-25
    “Cheating Death in Damascus” Solution to the Fermi Paradox.Alexey Turchin & Roman Yampolskiy - manuscript
    One of the possible solutions of the Fermi paradox is that all civilizations go extinct because they hit some Late Great Filter. Such a universal Late Great Filter must be an unpredictable event that all civilizations unexpectedly encounter, even if they try to escape extinction. This is similar to the “Death in Damascus” paradox from decision theory. However, this unpredictable Late Great Filter could be escaped by choosing a random strategy for humanity’s future development. However, if all civilizations act randomly, (...)
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  2. added 2019-04-19
    Environmental Heritage and the Ruins of the Future.Erich Hatala Matthes - 2019 - In Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jeanette Bicknell & Jennifer Judkins (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Ruins, Monuments, and Memorials. Routledge.
    We now have good reason to worry that many coastal cities will be flooded by the end of the century. How should we confront this possibility (or inevitability)? What attitudes should we adopt to impending inundation of such magnitude? In the case of place-loss due to anthropogenic climate change, I argue that there may ultimately be something fitting about letting go, both thinking prospectively, when the likelihood of preservation is bleak, and retrospectively, when we reflect on our inability to prevent (...)
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  3. added 2019-03-16
    Space Colonization and Existential Risk.Joseph Gottlieb - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):306-320.
    Ian Stoner has recently argued that we ought not to colonize Mars because doing so would flout our pro tanto obligation not to violate the principle of scientific conservation, and there is no countervailing considerations that render our violation of the principle permissible. While I remain agnostic on, my primary goal in this article is to challenge : there are countervailing considerations that render our violation of the principle permissible. As such, Stoner has failed to establish that we ought not (...)
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  4. added 2019-01-12
    Global Catastrophic Risks Connected with Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    In this article, a classification of the global catastrophic risks connected with the possible existence (or non-existence) of extraterrestrial intelligence is presented. If there are no extra-terrestrial intelligences (ETIs) in our light cone, it either means that the Great Filter is behind us, and thus some kind of periodic sterilizing natural catastrophe, like a gamma-ray burst, should be given a higher probability estimate, or that the Great Filter is ahead of us, and thus a future global catastrophe is high probability. (...)
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  5. added 2018-12-21
    Parental Partiality and Future Children.Thomas Douglas - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1).
    Prospective parents are sometimes partial towards their future children, engaging in what I call ‘pre-parental partiality’. Common sense morality is as permissive of pre-parental partiality as it is of ordinary parental partiality—partiality towards one’s existing children. But I argue that existing justifications for partiality typically establish weaker reasons in support of pre-parental partiality than in support of parental partiality. Thus, either these existing justifications do not fully account for our reasons of parental partiality, or our reasons to engage in pre-parental (...)
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  6. added 2018-12-19
    No Harm Done? An Experimental Approach to the Non-Identity Problem.Matthew Kopec & Justin P. Bruner - manuscript
    A driving force behind much of the literature on the non-identity problem is the widely shared intuition that actions or policies that change who comes into existence don't, as a result, lose their morally problematic features. We hypothesize that this intuition isn’t entirely shared by the general public, which might have widespread implications concerning how to best motivate public support for large-scale, identity-affecting policies like those involved in climate change mitigation. To test our hypothesis, we ran a behavioural economic experiment, (...)
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  7. added 2018-11-18
    Approaches to the Prevention of Global Catastrophic Risks.Alexey Turchin - 2018 - Human Prospect 7 (2):52-65.
    Many global catastrophic and existential risks (X-risks) threaten the existence of humankind. There are also many ideas for their prevention, but the meta-problem is that these ideas are not structured. This lack of structure means it is not easy to choose the right plan(s) or to implement them in the correct order. I suggest using a “Plan A, Plan B” model, which has shown its effectiveness in planning actions in unpredictable environments. In this approach, Plan B is a backup option, (...)
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  8. added 2018-11-10
    Should We Colonize Other Planets?Adam Morton - 2018 - Cambridge , UK: Polity.
    A critical exposition of plans to colonize other planets , especially Mars, and their costs. The final chapter links with issues about the value and future of human life. See the extended summary uploaded to this site.
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  9. added 2018-10-29
    Global Catastrophic Risks by Chemical Contamination.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    Abstract: Global chemical contamination is an underexplored source of global catastrophic risks that is estimated to have low a priori probability. However, events such as pollinating insects’ population decline and lowering of the human male sperm count hint at some toxic exposure accumulation and thus could be a global catastrophic risk event if not prevented by future medical advances. We identified several potentially dangerous sources of the global chemical contamination, which may happen now or could happen in the future: autocatalytic (...)
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  10. added 2018-09-26
    Wireheading as a Possible Contributor to Civilizational Decline.Alexey Turchin - manuscript
    Abstract: Advances in new technologies create new ways to stimulate the pleasure center of the human brain via new chemicals, direct application of electricity, electromagnetic fields, “reward hacking” in games and social networks, and in the future, possibly via genetic manipulation, nanorobots and AI systems. This may have two consequences: a) human life may become more interesting, b) humans may stop participating in any external activities, including work, maintenance, reproduction, and even caring for their own health, which could slowly contribute (...)
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  11. added 2018-09-13
    Islands as Refuges for Surviving Global Catastrophes.Alexey Turchin & Brian Patrick Green - 2018 - Foresight.
    Purpose Islands have long been discussed as refuges from global catastrophes; this paper will evaluate them systematically, discussing both the positives and negatives of islands as refuges. There are examples of isolated human communities surviving for thousands of years on places like Easter Island. Islands could provide protection against many low-level risks, notably including bio-risks. However, they are vulnerable to tsunamis, bird-transmitted diseases, and other risks. This article explores how to use the advantages of islands for survival during global catastrophes. (...)
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  12. added 2018-06-13
    A Review of Leonardo Caffo and Azzurra Muzzonigro’s “Costruire Futuri: Migrazioni, Città, Immaginazioni”. [REVIEW]Steven Umbrello - 2018 - Journal of Futures Studies 23 (1):101-103.
    Modernism has provided a strong case for technoprogressivism, innovation and speculation on future possibilities. However, drastic and often devastating consequences have followed modernism such as global warming and mass biodiversity loss. In Leonardo Caffo and Azzurra Muzzonigro’s new book, a case for posthumanism as a means for envisioning and rethinking futures studies is argued and practical means by which those futures can be realized are outlined.
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  13. added 2018-06-13
    Ecological Finitude as Ontological Finitude: Radical Hope in the Anthropocene.B. Scot Rousse & Fernando Flores - 2018 - In Richard Polt & Jon Wittrock (eds.), The Task of Philosophy in the Anthropocene: Axial Echoes in Global Space. New York: Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 175-192.
    The proposal that the earth has entered a new epoch called “the Anthropocene” has touched a nerve . One unsettling part of having our ecological finitude thrust upon us with the term “Anthropocene” is that, as Nietzsche said of the death of God, we ourselves are supposed to be the collective doer responsible here, yet this is a deed which no one individual meant to do and whose implications no one fully comprehends. For the pessimists about humanity, the implications seem (...)
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  14. added 2018-01-15
    Global Catastrophic and Existential Risks Communication Scale.Alexey Turchin & Denkeberger David - 2018 - Futures:not defiend yet.
    Existential risks threaten the future of humanity, but they are difficult to measure. However, to communicate, prioritize and mitigate such risks it is important to estimate their relative significance. Risk probabilities are typically used, but for existential risks they are problematic due to ambiguity, and because quantitative probabilities do not represent some aspects of these risks. Thus, a standardized and easily comprehensible instrument is called for, to communicate dangers from various global catastrophic and existential risks. In this article, inspired by (...)
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  15. added 2017-10-17
    A New Defence of Probability Discounting.Kian Mintz-Woo - 2017 - In Adrian Walsh, Säde Hormio & Duncan Purves (eds.), The Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics. Oxford: Routledge. pp. 87-102.
    When probability discounting (or probability weighting), one multiplies the value of an outcome by one's subjective probability that the outcome will obtain in decision-making. The broader import of defending probability discounting is to help justify cost-benefit analyses in contexts such as climate change. This chapter defends probability discounting under risk both negatively, from arguments by Simon Caney (2008, 2009), and with a new positive argument. First, in responding to Caney, I argue that small costs and benefits need to be evaluated, (...)
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  16. added 2017-10-10
    A Good Exit: What to Do About the End of Our Species?Toby Handfield - 2018 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 15 (3):272-297.
    We know that Homo sapiens will not exist forever. Given this, how should our species end? What are the reasons, if any, to delay our extinction? In this paper, I show that the pre-eminent reasons which favour prolonging the existence of the species are partial: they will arise from the particular attachments and projects of the final few generations. While there may also be impartial reasons to prolong the species, these reasons are liable, with time, to reverse their valence: we (...)
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  17. added 2017-07-13
    Ruyer and Simondon on Technological Inventiveness and Form Outlasting its Medium.Philippe Gagnon - 2017 - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 11 (4):538-554.
    A summary is provided of Ruyer's important contribution, also a reversal from some conclusions held in his secondary doctoral dissertation, about the limits inherent in technological progress, and an attempt is made to show the coherence of this position to Ruyer's metaphysics. Simondon's response is also presented, and subsequently analyzed especially as it culminates in a concept of concretizations. As Simondon indicated, and with a displacement in Ruyer's limitating framework on unconditional growth, we end up searching for what represents the (...)
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  18. added 2017-02-20
    A Portable Defense of the Procreation Asymmetry.Jake Earl - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3):178-199.
    The Procreation Asymmetry holds that we have strong moral reasons not to create miserable people for their own sakes, but no moral reasons to create happy people for their own sakes. To defend this conjunction against an argument that it leads to inconsistency, I show how recognizing ‘creation’ as a temporally extended process allows us to revise the conjuncts in a way that preserves their intuitive force. This defense of the Procreation Asymmetry is preferable to others because it does not (...)
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  19. added 2017-01-20
    Making Our Children Pay for Mitigation.Aaron Maltais - 2015 - In Aaron Maltais Catriona McKinnon (ed.), The Ethics of Climate Governance. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. pp. 91-109.
    Investments in mitigating climate change have their greatest environmental impact over the long term. As a consequence the incentives to invest in cutting greenhouse gas emissions today appear to be weak. In response to this challenge, there has been increasing attention given to the idea that current generations can be motivated to start financing mitigation at much higher levels today by shifting these costs to the future through national debt. Shifting costs to the future in this way benefits future generations (...)
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  20. added 2016-12-08
    Constitutional Experiments: Representing Future Generations Through Submajority Rules.Kristian Skagen Ekeli - 2009 - Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (4):440-61.
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  21. added 2016-10-22
    The Pig’s Squeak: Towards a Renewed Aesthetic Argument for Veganism.A. G. Holdier - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (4):631-642.
    In 1906, Henry Stephens Salt published a short collection of essays that presented several rhetorically powerful, if formally deficient arguments for the vegetarian position. By interpreting Salt as a moral sentimentalist with ties to Aristotelian virtue ethics, I propose that his aesthetic argument deserves contemporary consideration. First, I connect ethics and aesthetics with the Greek concepts of kalon and kalokagathia that depend equally on beauty and morality before presenting Salt’s assertion: slaughterhouses are disgusting, therefore they should not be promoted. I (...)
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  22. added 2016-06-09
    Climate Justice Charter.Ignace Haaz, Frédéric-Paul Piguet, Chêne Protestant Parish, Michel Schach, Natacha à Porta, Jacques Matthey, Gabriel Amisi & Brigitte Buxtorf - 2016 - Arves et Lac Publications.
    The latest news from our planet is threatening: climate change, pollution, forest loss, species extinctions. All these words are frightening and there is no sign of improvement. Simple logic leads to the conclusion that humanity has to react, for its own survival. But at the scale of a human being, it is less obvious. Organizing one’s daily life in order to preserve the environment implies self-questioning, changing habits, sacrificing some comfort. In one word, it is an effort. Then, what justifies (...)
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  23. added 2016-05-16
    Climate Justice and Geoengineering: Ethics and Policy in the Atmospheric Anthropocene.Christopher J. Preston (ed.) - 2016 - Rowman & Littlefield International.
    A collection of original and innovative essays that compare the justice issues raised by climate engineering to the justice issues raised by competing approaches to solving the climate problem.
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  24. added 2016-03-23
    The Construction of a Sustainable Development in Times of Climate Change.Eric Brandstedt - 2013 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This dissertation is a contribution to the debate about ‘climate justice’, i.e. a call for a just and feasible distribution of responsibility for addressing climate change. The main argument is a proposal for a cautious, practicable, and necessary step in the right direction: given the set of theoretical and practical obstacles to climate justice, we must begin by making contemporary development practices sustainable. In times of climate change, this is done by recognising and responding to the fact that emissions of (...)
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  25. added 2016-03-13
    Political Institutions for the Future: A Five-Fold Package.Simon Caney (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
    Governments are often so focused on short-term gains that they ignore the long term, thus creating extra unnecessary burdens on their citizens, and violating their responsibilities to future generations. What can be done about this? In this paper I propose a package of reforms to the ways in which policies are made by legislatures, and in which those policies are scrutinised, implemented and evaluated. The overarching aim is to enhance the accountability of the decision-making process in ways that take into (...)
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  26. added 2016-03-03
    Environmental Rights by Constitutional Means.Iñigo González-Ricoy - 2015 - In Marcello Di Paola & Daanika Kamal (eds.), Climate Change and Human Rights. Global Policy / Wiley-Blackwell.
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  27. added 2015-11-16
    Towards Integrated Ethical and Scientific Analysis of Geoengineering: A Research Agenda.Nancy Tuana, Ryan L. Sriver, Toby Svoboda, Roman Olson, Peter J. Irvine, Jacob Haqq-Misra & Klaus Keller - 2012 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2):136 - 157.
    Concerns about the risks of unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions are growing. At the same time, confidence that international policy agreements will succeed in considerably lowering anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is declining. Perhaps as a result, various geoengineering solutions are gaining attention and credibility as a way to manage climate change. Serious consideration is currently being given to proposals to cool the planet through solar-radiation management. Here we analyze how the unique and nontrivial risks of geoengineering strategies pose fundamental questions at (...)
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  28. added 2015-08-31
    Response to Commentaries on ‘Ethical and Technical Challenges in Compensating for Harm Due to Solar Radiation Management Geoengineering’.Toby Svoboda & Peter Irvine - 2015 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 18 (1):103-105.
    We thank the commentators for their interesting and helpful feedback on our previously published target article (Svoboda and Irvine, 2014). One of our objectives in that article was to identify areas of uncertainty that would need to be addressed in crafting a just SRM compensation system. The commentators have indicated some possible ways of reducing such uncertainty. Although we cannot respond to all their points due to limitations of space, we wish to address here the more pressing criticisms the commentators (...)
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  29. added 2015-08-31
    Ethical and Technical Challenges in Compensating for Harm Due to Solar Radiation Management Geoengineering.Toby Svoboda & Peter Irvine - 2014 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (2):157-174.
    As a response to climate change, geoengineering with solar radiation management has the potential to result in unjust harm. Potentially, this injustice could be ameliorated by providing compensation to victims of SRM. However, establishing a just SRM compensation system faces severe challenges. First, there is scientific uncertainty in detecting particular harmful impacts and causally attributing them to SRM. Second, there is ethical uncertainty regarding what principles should be used to determine responsibility and eligibility for compensation, as well as determining how (...)
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  30. added 2015-03-10
    People Work to Sustain Systems: A Framework for Understanding Sustainability.Ian Werkheiser & Zachary Piso - 2015 - Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 141 (12).
    Sustainability is commonly recognized as an important goal, but there is little agreement on what sustainability is, or what it requires. This paper looks at some common approaches to sustainability, and while acknowledging the ways in which they are useful, points out an important lacuna: that for something to be sustainable, people must be willing to work to sustain it. The paper presents a framework for thinking about and assessing sustainability which highlights people working to sustain. It also briefly discusses (...)
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  31. added 2014-06-25
    Bridging The Emissions Gap: A Plea For Taking Up The Slack.Anne Schwenkenbecher - 2013 - Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 3 (1):273-301.
    With the existing commitments to climate change mitigation, global warming is likely to exceed 2°C and to trigger irreversible and harmful threshold effects. The difference between the reductions necessary to keep the 2°C limit and those reductions countries have currently committed to is called the ‘emissions gap’. I argue that capable states not only have a moral duty to make voluntary contributions to bridge that gap, but that complying states ought to make up for the failures of some other states (...)
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  32. added 2014-03-12
    Human Extinction and the Value of Our Efforts.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2004 - Philosophical Forum 35 (3):371–391.
    Some people feel distressed reflecting on human extinction. Some people even claim that our efforts and lives would be empty and pointless if humanity becomes extinct, even if this will not occur for millions of years. In this essay, I will attempt to demonstrate that this claim is false. The desire for long-lastingness or quasi-immortality is often unwittingly adopted as a standard for judging whether our efforts are significant. If we accomplish our goals and then later in life conclude that (...)
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  33. added 2014-03-04
    Non-Identity, Sufficiency and Exploitation.Matthew Rendall - 2011 - Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (2):229-247.
    This paper argues that we hold two key duties to future people: to leave them enough in an absolute sense, and to leave them their fair share. Even if we benefit people by bringing them into existence, we can wrongly exploit our position to take more than our share of benefits. As in paradigm cases of exploitation, just because future people might agree to the ‘bargain’, this does not mean that they receive enough.
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  34. added 2013-06-01
    Granice troski o przyszłe pokolenia.Tomasz Żuradzki - 2010 - Diametros 26:206-225.
    W artykule rozważam następujący problem: czy powinniśmy przykładać taką samą wagę do interesów i dobrobytu ludzi istniejących w przyszłości, jak do interesów i dobrobytu jednostek żyjących obecnie? Staram się wykazać, że traktowanie wymiaru czasowego analogicznie do przestrzennego jest problematyczne, zarówno jeśli chodzi o wymogi moralne, jak i o zasady sprawiedliwości, którymi powinny kierować się instytucje społeczne. Analizuję problem społecznej stopy dyskontowej, a także wskazuję na ograniczenia, jakie napotyka w związku z nim konsekwencjalistyczny rachunek zysków i strat w kontekście sprawiedliwości międzypokoleniowej.
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  35. added 2013-02-05
    Climate Change: A Challenge for Ethics.Evangelos D. Protopapadakis - 2012 - In Walter Leal Filho Evangelos Manolas (ed.), English through Climate Change. Democritus University of Thrace. pp. 167.
    Climate change – and its most dangerous consequence, the rapid overheating of the planet – is not the offspring of a natural procedure; instead, it is human-induced. It is only the aftermath of a specific pattern of conomic development, one that focuses mainly on economic growth rather than on quality of life and sustainability. Since climate change is a major threat not only to millions of humans, but also to numerous non-human species and other forms of life, as well as (...)
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  36. added 2012-09-06
    Justice and Climate Change: Toward a Libertarian Analysis.Dan C. Shahar - 2009 - The Independent Review 14 (2):219-237.
    Global climate change is one of the most widely discussed problems of our time. However, many libertarian thinkers have not participated in the ethical dimensions of this discussion due to a narrow focus on the scientific basis for concern about climate change. In this paper, I reject this approach and explore the kind of response libertarians should be offering instead. I frame the climate change problem as one which concerns potential rights-infringements and explore different ways in which climate change might (...)
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  37. added 2012-04-14
    How Best to Prevent Future Persons From Suffering: A Reply to Benatar.Brooke Alan Trisel - 2012 - South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):79-93.
    David Benatar claims that everyone was seriously harmed by coming into existence. To spare future persons from this suffering, we should cease having children, Benatar argues, with the result that humanity would gradually go extinct. Benatar’s claim of universal serious harm is baseless. Each year, an estimated 94% of children born throughout the world do not have a serious birth defect. Furthermore, studies show that most people do not experience chronic pain. Although nearly everyone experiences acute pain and discomforts, such (...)
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  38. added 2012-01-15
    Climate Change and the Threat of Disaster: The Moral Case for Taking Out Insurance at Our Grandchildren's Expense.Matthew Rendall - 2011 - Political Studies 59 (4):884-99.
    Is drastic action against global warming essential to avoid impoverishing our descendants? Or does it mean robbing the poor to give to the rich? We do not yet know. Yet most of us can agree on the importance of minimising expected deprivation. Because of the vast number of future generations, if there is any significant risk of catastrophe, this implies drastic and expensive carbon abatement unless we discount the future. I argue that we should not discount. Instead, the rich countries (...)
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  39. added 2011-07-24
    Sulfate Aerosol Geoengineering: The Question of Justice.Toby Svoboda, Klaus Keller, Marlos Goes & Nancy Tuana - 2011 - Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (3):157-180.
    Some authors have called for increased research on various forms of geoengineering as a means to address global climate change. This paper focuses on the question of whether a particular form of geoengineering, namely deploying sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere to counteract some of the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations, would be a just response to climate change. In particular, we examine problems sulfate aerosol geoengineering (SAG) faces in meeting the requirements of distributive, intergenerational, and procedural justice. We argue (...)
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  40. added 2011-06-27
    Future Harms and Current Offspring.Jason Kawall - 2011 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (1):23-26.
    By providing an explicit estimate of the harms caused by personal greenhouse gas emissions, John Nolt (in his “How Harmful are the Average American’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions?”) hopes to undermine tendencies to downplay these emissions and their impacts on global climate change. He estimates that an average American would be responsible for one two-billionth of the suffering or death of two billion people (over 1000 years). He treats this as equivalent to being responsible for the suffering or death of one (...)
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  41. added 2010-12-28
    Life-Centered Ethics, and the Human Future in Space.Michael N. Mautner - 2009 - Bioethics 23 (8):433-440.
    In the future, human destiny may depend on our ethics. In particular, biotechnology and expansion in space can transform life, raising profound questions. Guidance may be found in Life-centered ethics, as biotic ethics that value the basic patterns of organic gene/protein life, and as panbiotic ethics that always seek to expand life. These life-centered principles can be based on scientific insights into the unique place of life in nature, and the biological unity of all life. Belonging to life then implies (...)
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  42. added 2010-12-28
    Genetic Modification and Future Generations.David Sackris - 2006 - Macalester Journal of Philosophy 15 (1).
    One of the most difficult issues to sort out morally is our obligation to future generations. Most individuals feel that they do indeed have some kind of obligation, but face difficulty in explaining the exact nature of the obligation. For one, it seems impossible to know the wants and desires of future generations, and furthermore the existence of the persons we are obligated to is entirely dependent upon the choices that we in fact make. In essence, we could shape future (...)
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  43. added 2010-12-28
    Justice and Future Generations.D. Clayton Hubin - 1976 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (1):70-83.
    In A Theory of Justice, Rawls attempts to ground intergenerational justice by "virtual representation" through a thickening of the veil of ignorance. Contractors don't know to what generation they belong. This approach is flawed and will not result in the just savings principle Rawls hopes to justify. The project of grounding intergenerational duties on a social contractarian foundation is misconceived. Non-overlapping generations do not stand in relation to one another that is central to the contractarian approach.
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