Future People: A Moderate Consequentialist Account of our Obligations to Future Generations

Paperback | December 1, 2008

byTim Mulgan

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What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He argues that the resulting theory accounts fora wide range of independently plausible intuitions - covering individual morality, intergenerational justice, and international justice. In particular, the moderate consequentialist approach is superior to its two main rivals in this area - person-affecting theories and traditional consequentialism.The former fall foul of Parfit's Non-Identity Problem, while the latter are invariably implausibly demanding. Mulgan also claims that most puzzles in contemporary value theory (such as Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion) are actually puzzles in the theory of right action, and can only be solved if weabandon strict consequentialism for a more moderate alternative.The heart of the book is the first systematic exploration of the rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. Mulgan demostrates that this account is superior to all available alternatives, both consequentialist and non-consequentialist. Once we recognise theintergenerational dimension, moral and political philosophy cannot be considered in isolation. The latter must be founded on the former. Rule consequentialism provides the best foundation for a theory of intergenerational justice.Future People brings together several different contemporary philosophical discussions: obligations to future generations, the morality of individual reproduction, the demands of morality, and international justice. While the focus is on developing a new account, there are also substantialdiscussions of alternative views, especially contract-based accounts of intergenerational justice and competing forms of consequentialism.

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What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He argues that the resulting theory accounts fora wide range of independently plausible int...

Tim Mulgan is Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of St Andrews

other books by Tim Mulgan

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:394 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.94 inPublished:December 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199556733

ISBN - 13:9780199556731

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Contract Theory3. Value Theory4. Hybrid Moral Theories5. Rule Consequentialism6. Reproductive Freedom7. Optimism and Pessimism8. Disagreement and Uncertainty9. International Justice10. The Limits of Rule Consequentialism11. Dividing Morality

Editorial Reviews

`The discussion is lively, incisive and provocative and will make an enduring contribution. Certainly anyone interested in consequentialism or moral status of future persons will learn a great deal from this fascinating and extremely worthwhile book. 'M. A. Roberts, Mind