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Unto the Thousandth Generation

Conceptualizing Intergenerational Justice


Bruce E. Auerbach

The problem of intergenerational justice is among the most important issues in contemporary politics. Yet contemporary philosophers and political theorists have had great difficulty coming to grips with the nature and extent of our intergenerational obligations. This book examines the historical roots of intergenerational justice and analyzes this concept critically. Contemporary approaches are critiqued for their inability to address adequately such essential «intergenerational» questions as whether, and under what circumstances, we have an obligation to perpetuate the human species, the moral implications of our power to affect the identity of future persons, and the nature of our obligations to the dead. The concluding chapters propose a broader understanding of intergenerational justice and the moral necessity of establishing a tradition of just intergenerational action as our legacy to posterity.