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Future Generations and Contemporary Ethics

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  • Lawrence E. Johnson

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).

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence E. Johnson, 2003. "Future Generations and Contemporary Ethics," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 12(4), pages 471-487, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev12:ev1222
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    Keywords

    Future generations; person-affecting principle; individualistic ethics; holistic ethics;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development

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