Wrigley, AJ (2012) Harm To Future Persons: Non-Identity Problems and Counterpart Solutions. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 15 (2). 175 -190. ISSN 1386-2820

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Non-Identity arguments have a pervasive but sometimes counter-intuitive grip on certain key areas in ethics. As a result, there has been limited success in supporting the alternative view that our choices concerning future generations can be considered harmful on any sort of person-affecting principle. However, as the Non-Identity Problem relies overtly on certain metaphysical assumptions, plausible alternatives to these foundations can substantially undermine the Non-Identity argument itself. In this paper, I show how the pervasive force and nature of Non-Identity arguments rely upon a specific adoption of a theory of modality and identity and how adopting an alternative account of modality can be used to reject many conclusions formed through Non-Identity type arguments. By using Lewis’s counterpart-theoretic account to understand ways we might have been, I outline the basis of a modal account of harm that incorporates a person-affecting aspect. This, in turn, has significant implications for ethical decision-making in areas such as reproductive choice and the welfare of future generations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Springer at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-011-9280-0 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Harm, Non-identity problem, Counterparts, Genetic selection
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2017 15:29
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 11:48
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3155

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