Political and administrative sciences
Law and Political Science
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AbstractCan we harm future people? According to our commonly used contractarian theories, it seems we cannot. This is because our actions of today not only influence what they are supposed to influence, but also who mates with whom and when, and thus which particular persons will ever live in the future. Had we not performed a particular action, the future people born as a result of that same action, would not have been born. It therefore seems they cannot reasonably reject our actions. The paradox this poses has been known as The Non-Identity Problem. In this essay, we critically review the discourse on The Non-Identity Problem and analyse the most important attempts to solve this intricate puzzle. We argue that The Non-Identity Problem is not possible to solve using consequentialistic theories of ethics, but that a non-consequentialistic solution is possible.