Accepting Collective Responsibility for the Future

Journal of Practical Ethics Volume 5 Number 1

31 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2017

See all articles by Stephen Gardiner

Stephen Gardiner

University of Washington, Seattle

Date Written: June 1, 2017

Abstract

Existing institutions do not seem well-designed to address paradigmatically global, intergenerational and ecological problems, such as climate change. In particular, they tend to crowd out intergenerational concern, and thereby facilitate a “tyranny of the contemporary” in which successive generations exploit the future to their own advantage in morally indefensible ways (albeit perhaps unintentionally). Overcoming such a tyranny will require both accepting responsibility for the future and meeting the institutional gap. I propose that we approach the first in terms of a traditional “delegated responsibility” model of the transmission of individual responsibility to collectives, and the second with a call for a global constitutional convention focused on future generations. In this paper, I develop the delegated responsibility model by suggesting how it leads us to understand both past failures and prospective responsibility. I then briefly defend the call for a global constitutional convention.

Suggested Citation

Gardiner, Stephen, Accepting Collective Responsibility for the Future (June 1, 2017). Journal of Practical Ethics Volume 5 Number 1 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2997035

Stephen Gardiner (Contact Author)

University of Washington, Seattle ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.phil.washington.edu/people_gardiner.htm

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