Rights and Responsibilities in an Intergenerational Polity
Routledge – 2009 – 192 pages
In this timely study, Thompson presents a theory of intergenerational justice that gives citizens duties to past and future generations, showing why people can make legitimate demands of their successors and explaining what relationships between contemporary generations count as fair. What connects these various responsibilities and entitlements is a view about individual interests that both argues that individuals are motivated by intergenerational concerns, and that a polity that appropriately recognizes these interests must support and accept intergenerational responsibilities. The book ranges over the philosophical, ethical, political and environmental questions raised by intergenerational issues: how we can have duties to non-existent people, whether we can wrong the dead or be held responsible for what they did, what sacrifices we should make for our successors, and whether we have duties to people of the remote future. Encompassing the ethical problems created by demographic change, the ethical issues of population control and intergenerational implications of new technologies for creating people, this book will be of interest to those studying philosophy, politics, legal theory, and environmental studies.
1. Introduction: Towards a Theory of Justice for an Intergenerational Polity 2. Justice, Identity and Existence 3. Lifetime-Transcending Interests 4. Lifetime-Transcending Interests and Duties to Past People 5. Citizenship and Responsibility for the Past 6. Being Just to Future Citizens 7. Generational Rights and Duties 8. Fair Shares 9. Creating Future Generations 10. Sustainability and Future Generations 11. Global Intergenerational Justice
Janna Thompson is an Associate Professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of Taking Responsibility for the Past and other articles and books on historical obligations, environmental ethics and intergenerational justice.