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The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People$
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David Boonin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199682935

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199682935.001.0001

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Rejecting the Fifth Premise

Rejecting the Fifth Premise

(p.149) 6 Rejecting the Fifth Premise
The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People

David Boonin

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains and critically evaluates those solutions to the non-identity problem that involve rejecting the fifth premise of the argument that gives rise to the problem, the claim that if an act wrongs no one, then the act is not morally wrong. These include solutions based on appeals to utilitarian and consequentialist principles, in both act- and rule-forms, and to Parfit’s Principle Q, as well as solutions based on considerations of group rights and of virtue. It is argued that no solution that involves rejecting the fifth premise of the non-identity argument satisfies all three of the criteria that a successful solution to the problem must satisfy.

Keywords:   act-consequentialism, consequentialism, group rights, Parfit, rule-consequentialism, utilitarianism, virtue

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