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
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 Document Supply Service
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