Philosophy 290-4

Spring 2018

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-4 Graduate Seminar: Morality, Value, and Future People Wallace W 2-4 Moses 234

We will look at some questions about the nature and source of our responsibilities with regard to future generations. How should we assess overall states of affairs when thinking about the well-being of the people who will exist in them? Can we arrive at a “population axiology” that is free from paradox or contradiction? Do we have a responsibility, as individuals, to bring about states of affairs that are better rather than worse in this dimension? Is our concern for future generations a concern for the individual humans who will come into existence, or for the population as a whole, or for the species that they belong to? Might our concern for future generations be grounded at least as much in our interest in the quality of our own lives as in morality? Does it matter, at all, whether the human species eventually becomes extinct?

In thinking about these issues, we will discuss recent texts by Johann Frick, Hilary Greaves, Derek Parfit, Samuel Scheffler, and others.