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Person-Affecting Moral Theory, Non-Identity and Future People

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  • Robert Huseby

Abstract

Many of our actions will affect the welfare of future people. For instance, continued emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) may lead to future environmental degradation, which will negatively affect people's lives. If we continue GHG-emissions, are we harming future people? In light of the non-identity problem, apparently, we are not. This article assesses three recent attempts (by Carter, Page and Kumar) at grounding concern for future generations in person-affecting moral theory. Although these attempts are promising, the conclusion is that none is completely successful. It seems, then, that we have reason to incorporate a limited measure of consequentialism into person-affecting morality. More precisely, I suggest that we should adopt a version of telic sufficientarianism.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Huseby, 2010. "Person-Affecting Moral Theory, Non-Identity and Future People," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 19(2), pages 193-210, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev19:ev1909
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    Keywords

    Climate change; future people; non-identity problem; person-affecting moral theory; sufficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development

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