Environmental Values 5(1996): 161-179. doi: 10.3197/096327196776679366
The moral status of future persons is problematic. It is often claimed that we should take the interests of the indefinite unborn very seriously, because they have a right to a decent life. It is also claimed (often by the same people) that we should allow unrestricted access to abortion, because the indefinite unborn have no rights. In this paper I argue that these intuitions are not in fact inconsistent. The aim is to provide an account of trans-temporal concern which resolves the prima facie inconsistency between commonly held intuitions about our obligations to future persons. I argue that our intuitions can be reconciled provided that we explicate obligations to the future in terms of impersonal principles subject to retroactive person-affecting constraints.
KEYWORDS: Future persons, duty to posterity, Parfit
CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles:
Environmental Risks, Uncertainty and Intergenerational Ethics. Kristian Skagen Ekeli
Reprints of this article can be ordered from the British Library Document Supply Service or ingenta
Contact the publishers for subscriptions and back numbers of Environmental Values.
THE WHITE HORSE PRESS
The Old Vicarage, Winwick
Cambridgeshire, PE28 5PN, UK
Tel: +44 1832 293222