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Environmental Values

The Future - For Better or Worse

Ernest Partridge

Environmental Values 11(2002): 75-85. doi: 10.3197/096327102129340993

Alan Carter correctly argues that Thomas Schwartz's 'future persons paradox' applies with equal force to utilitarianism, rights theory and Aristotelian ethics. His criticism of Rawls's 'justice between generations' is less successful, because of his failure (and perhaps Rawls's as well) to fully appreciate the hypothetical nature of the 'original position'. Carter's attempt to refute Schwartz's argument by focusing on the individuality of moral action fails, since it evades the essential point of Schwartz's argument. The best response to Schwartz is to concede the essential validity of his argument and then to turn that argument into an ad absurdum refutation of his central premise,'the person affecting principle'.

KEYWORDS: future persons, future generations, posterity, person affecting principle, Alan Carter, Thomas Schwartz

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Can We Harm Future People? Alan Carter

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

On Harming Others: A Response to Partridge Alan Carter

Future Generations and Environmental Ethics. Lawrence E. Johnson

On the Moral Considerability of Homo sapiens and Other Species. Ronald Sandler and Judith Crane

Wrongful Harm to Future Generations: The Case of Climate Change.Marc D. Davidson

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