A Moderate Consequentialist Account of Our Obligations to Future Generations
By (author) Tim Mulgan
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Future People by Tim Mulgan
Book DescriptionWhat 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 for a 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 we abandon 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 the intergenerational 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 substantial discussions of alternative views, especially contract-based accounts of intergenerational justice and competing forms of consequentialism.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199556731
(234mm x 156mm x 24mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 20-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Tim Mulgan
Purpose in the Universe, Hardback (November 2015)
Two familiar worldviews dominate Western philosophy: materialist atheism and the benevolent God of the Abrahamic faiths. Tim Mulgan defends a third way. Ananthropocentric Purposivism claims that there is a cosmic purpose, but human beings are irrelevant to it. He argues that non-human-centred cosmic purpose can ground a distinctive human morality.
Ethics for a Broken World, Paperback (October 2011)
Imagine living in the future in a world already damaged by humankind, a world where resources are insufficient to meet everyone's basic needs. This title imagines how the future might judge us and how living in a time of global environmental degradation might reshape the politics and ethics of the future.
Future People, Hardback (January 2006)
Based on a rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction, this book presents a theory of our obligations to future generations. It also brings together many different contemporary philosophical discussions, including the demands of morality and international justice, and includes discussions of contract-based accounts.
Demands of Consequentialism, Paperback (October 2005)» View all books by Tim Mulgan
Presents an examination of consequentialism, the theory that human behavior must be judged in terms of the goodness or badness of its consequences. The problem with consequentialism is that it seems unreasonably demanding, as leaving the agent no room for our own aims and interests. This book offers the author's own version of consequentialism.
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Author Biography - Tim Mulgan
Tim Mulgan is Professor of Moral & Political Philosophy at the University of St Andrews
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