Responsibilities to Future Generations

One consideration in sustainability is our responsibilities to future generations. This topic often falls under applied ethics and has close ties to environmental ethics. However, applied ethics has concerns with relationships between individual persons. One problem that arises with dealing with future generations is that there are no known individuals. Thomas Schwartz has pointed out that if we do nothing for the future, those individuals being born into that future world cannot blame us unless that world is so horrible that it would have been better not to have been born, for if we did anything else, they would not be the same individuals and could not have been better off. This leaves us with a very perplexing problem that to do anything is to change the individuals that we are trying to do it for. There may be additional problems from a Pagan perspective. Pagans often cast a wide net of moral consideration that includes nonhuman animals, plants, and even inorganic material. However, to cast a net so wide to include that which does not exist seems to place an enormous burden on those who do. Over the course of the next few months I shall examine some of these issues within a Pagan religious philosophical context.


About William Blumberg

I engage in religious philosophy within a Pagan context. I serve on the Board of Directors of Cherry Hill Seminary and the Conference on Current Pagan Studies.
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