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Intergenerational Justice$
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Axel Gosseries and Lukas H. Meyer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282951

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282951.001.0001

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Wronging Future People: A Contractualist Proposal

Wronging Future People: A Contractualist Proposal

(p.251) 9 Wronging Future People: A Contractualist Proposal
Intergenerational Justice

Rahul Kumar

Oxford University Press

The discussion of obligations to future generations often assumes that though the global poor can be wronged because there are obligations the affluent owe to them, those who will live in the further future can't. They can't be wronged, the thought goes, because though we have obligations with regard to future generations, they aren't obligations owed to them. This chapter argues that the assumption is mistaken. Adopting a Scanlonian contractualist account of what it is for one person to wrong another, it turns out that there is no good reason to think that those who will live in the further future can't be wronged by the choices we make now. This conclusion, it is suggested, has importance for how we understand the normative basis of claims to reparations for past injustice.

Keywords:   contractualism, non-identity problem, reparations, non-consequentialism, Scanlon, historical injustice

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