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Environmental Values

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Environmental Values

Future Generations and Contemporary Ethics

Lawrence E. Johnson

Environmental Values 12(2003): 471-487. doi: 10.3197/096327103129341414

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).


KEYWORDS: Future generations, person-affecting principle, individualistic ethics, holistic ethics

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Can We Harm Future People? Alan Carter

On Harming Others: A Response to Partridge Alan Carter

The Future - For Better or Worse Ernest Partridge

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:

Some Theoretical Foundations for Radical Green Politics.Alan Carter

The Commons, Game Theory, and Aspects of Human Nature that May Allow Conservation of Global Resources. Walter K. Dodds

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

Deliberating Intergenerational Environmental Equity: A Pragmatic, Future Studies Approach. Matthew Cotton

Should We Move the Whitebark Pine? Assisted Migration, Ethics and Global Environmental Change.Clare Palmer and Brendon M.H. Larson


This article is available online (PDF format) from Ingenta Journals. Access is free if your institution subscribes to Environmental Values. Reprints of this article can be ordered from ingenta or the British Library

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