Future Generations - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 8 pages of information about Future Generations.
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Four Special Problems

One problem is that of Radical Contingency (or "The Future Persons Paradox"). Attempts in the present to improve the living conditions in the future result in different individuals existing in the future. Accordingly, in the present one cannot improve the lives of any particular future individuals (because any such attempt results in different individuals). Thomas Schwartz, who posed this paradox in 1978, concluded that present generations have no obligations to the future, other than to insure that their lives are, on balance, "worth living" (Schwartz 1978).

A rebuttal position would be to accept the paradox but to conclude that the responsibility to the future is to promote policies that will result in optimum conditions for alternative populations. In other words, Policy A is to be preferred to Policy B, if the lives resulting from Policy A are preferable to the lives resulting from Policy B, even though...

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This section contains 2,399 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Future Generations Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Future Generations from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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