Download e-book for kindle: Justice, Posterity, and the Environment by Wilfred Beckerman

By Wilfred Beckerman

ISBN-10: 0199245096

ISBN-13: 9780199245093

In wealthy international locations, environmental difficulties are visible as difficulties of prosperity; in bad international locations, they're obvious as difficulties of poverty. loss of fresh ingesting water and inadequate sanitation have an effect on the right here and now, while environmental difficulties in wealthy nations appear prone to damage posterity. This e-book addresses those concerns, arguing that we've got ethical duties to take account of the pursuits of destiny generations and that our major legal responsibility is to bequeath to them a extra first rate society within which there's larger admire for uncomplicated human rights.

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To individual animals? To whole species of animals? To plants? To idiots and madmen? To foetuses? ' But some of these categories—namely, 'dead ancestors' or 'generations yet unborn'—do not seem to be borderline cases. Surely they fall into a different logical category. 13 Indeed, insofar as ordinary adults can be said to have a moral right to something or other, it must presumably mean that they have a moral right to choose whether to exercise the right, or claim to exercise it, or complain if they are denied the exercise of that right, or authorize somebody else to exercise the right in their place, or even waive the right.

21 4. Rights or Obligations? 22 Not merely do all rights imply obligations—which, as indicated above, is virtually uncontroversial—but all obligations imply counterpart rights, which is far more controversial. According to this tradition it does not matter much which side one chooses. Both terms describe a particular kind of relationship between people. The obligations and rights do not arise out of the independently moral character of any particular actions to be taken but out of the relationship between the parties in question.

The second reason why it is important to switch from a rights perspective to a less constrained interests perspective is that it substantially changes the relative importance that we ought to attach to our various obligations to future generations—although, as we repeat at various points, it does not make sense to rank objectives defined very broadly. For example, it would not make sense to say that every single violation of human rights, however trivial, ought to be remedied before taking action to prevent any environmental damage, however serious, or vice versa.

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Justice, Posterity, and the Environment by Wilfred Beckerman


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