On Permutations and Equity Among Generations
Posted: 19 Jul 2016 Last revised: 13 Nov 2019
Date Written: June 11, 2018
In the literature on intergenerational justice, there is a widely held view that in order to live up to the utilitarian ideal of equal regard for all individuals, including those who have not yet been born, we must impose infinite permutation invariance conditions known as axioms of extended anonymity. I argue that such conditions do not bear relevance to the utilitarian ideal. I do so by showing that all examples that have been used to motivate extended anonymity axioms can be given a conflicting account using an alternative principle that is supported independently.
Keywords: utilitarianism, intergenerational equity, anonymity
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