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Simon Lectures (1) - Why Worry about Future Generations?

Simon Lectures (1) - Why Worry about Future Generations?
170 St. George Street, JHB Room 100
Time: Oct 25th, 3:00 pm End: Oct 25th, 5:00 pm
Interest Categories: Philosophy (UTSC), Philosophy (UTM), Philosophy (FAS), 2000-
Lecture by Samuel Scheffler, NYU

The Department of Philosophy presents

The Jerome Simon Lectures:

Why Worry about Future Generations?

Why should we care about what happens to human beings in the future, after we ourselves are long gone? Much of the contemporary philosophical literature on future generations implicitly suggests that our primary reasons for concern are reasons of beneficence. In these lectures, I propose a different answer. Implicit in our existing values and attachments are a variety of powerful reasons, which are independent of considerations of beneficence, for wanting the chain of human generations to persist into the indefinite future under conditions conducive to human flourishing.

Lecture I: "Reasons to Worry: Love and Interest"

Much of the philosophical literature dealing with future generations focuses on issues of moral responsibility and approaches these issues from a broadly utilitarian or beneficence-based perspective, devoting special attention to the puzzles of "population ethics". In this lecture, I explain why I take a different approach. Rather than focusing exclusively on issues of moral responsibility, I want to consider the wider question of how future generations feature in or are related to our practical and evaluative thought as a whole. My overall aim is to show that, quite apart from considerations of beneficence, we have reasons at least four different kinds to try to ensure the survival and flourishing of our successors. I conclude the lecture by discussing reasons of the first two kinds: reasons of love and reasons of interest.

SAMUEL SCHEFFLER (B.A., Harvard; Ph.D., Princeton) works mainly in the areas of moral and political philosophy. His publications include five books: The Rejection of Consequentialism (1982, rev. ed. 1994), Human Morality (1992), Boundaries and Allegiances (2001), Equality and Tradition (2010), and Death and the Afterlife (Ed. Niko Kolodny, 2013), all published by Oxford University Press. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a recipient of Guggenheim and NEH Fellowships. He serves as an Advisory Editor of Philosophy and Public Affairs, and has been a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

(Colloquia organized by Julia Nefsky and David Barnett.)

For more information, please contact the Department of Philosophy at 416-978-3311.

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