A Good Exit: What to Do about the End of Our Species?

in Journal of Moral Philosophy
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

We know that Homo sapiens will not exist forever. Given this, how should our species end? What are the reasons, if any, to delay our extinction? In this paper, I show that the pre-eminent reasons which favor prolonging the existence of the species are partial: they will arise from the particular attachments and projects of the final few generations. While there may also be impartial reasons to prolong the species, these reasons are liable, with time, to reverse their valence: we can be reasonably confident that they will ultimately recommend hastening the demise of the species. Consequently, it is likely that our descendants will eventually face a difficult – possibly tragic – conflict, between partial duties that recommend living on, and an impartial duty to extinguish the species.

A Good Exit: What to Do about the End of Our Species?

in Journal of Moral Philosophy

Sections

References

Arrhenius G. (1999). An impossibility theorem in population axiology with weak ordering assumptions. In Sliwinski R. editor Philosophical Crumbs. Department of PhilosophyUppsala University, Uppsala.

Arrhenius G. (2000). An impossibility theorem for welfarist axiologies. Economics and Philosophy16(02):247266.

Arrhenius G. (2009). One more axiological impossibility theorem. In Johansson L.-G. Österberg J. and Sliwinski R. editors Logic Ethics and All That Jazz. Department of PhilosophyUppsala University, Uppsala.

Benatar D. (2006). Better Never to Have Been: The harm of coming into existence. Oxford University PressNew York.

Bradley B. (2009). Well Being and Death. Clarendon PressOxford.

Broome J. (2004). Weighing Lives. Oxford University PressOxford.

Carlson E. (1998). Mere addition and two trilemmas of population ethics. Economics and Philosophy14(02):283306.

Cohen G.A. (2011). Rescuing conservatism. In Wallace R.J. Kumar R. and Freeman S. editors Reasons and Recognition. Oxford University PressOxford.

Cowen T. (1996). What do we learn from the repugnant conclusion? Ethics106:75475.

Fehige C. (1998). A Pareto principle for possible people. In Fehige C. and Wessels U. editors Preferences pages 50843. de GruyterBerlin.

Gardiner S.M. (2006). A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate change, intergenerational ethics and the problem of moral corruption. Environmental Values15:397413.

Greaves H. and Ord T. (2015). Population ethics and normative uncertainty. Paper presented at Ethics and Decision Theory WorkshopANU.

Handfield T. (2011). Absent desires. Utilitas23:40227.

Huemer M. (2008). In defence of repugnance. Mind117:899933.

Hurka T. (1983). Value and population size. Ethics93:496507.

Johnston M. (2014). Is life a Ponzi scheme? Boston Review.

Kauppinen A. (2014). Flourishing and finitude. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.

Kelly T. (2004). Sunk costs, rationality, and acting for the sake of the past. Nous38(1):6085.

Lenman J. (2002). On becoming extinct. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly83(3):253269.

Levy N. (2001). Why regret language death? Public Affairs Quarterly15(4):37384.

Ng Y.-K. (1989). What should we do about future generations? Economics and Philosophy5:23553.

Norton B.G. (1987). Why preserve natural variety? Princeton University PressPrinceton.

Oppy G. (2001). Physical eschatology. Philo4(2):14868.

Otsuka M. (1994). Killing the innocent in self-defense. Philosophy and Public Affairs23:7494.

Parfit D. (1984). Reasons and Persons. Clarendon PressOxford.

Roberts M.A. (1998). Child Versus Childmaker: Future Persons and Present Duties in Ethics and the Law . Rowman & Littlefield.

Ross J. (2006). Rejecting ethical deflationism. Ethics116(4):742768.

Scheffler S. (2012). Death and the Afterlife. Oxford University PressOxford.

Smith I.A. (2010). The Role of Humility and Intrinsic Goods in Preserving Endangered Species. Environmental Ethics32(2):165182.

Velleman J.D. (1991). Well-being and time. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly72:4877. Reprinted in Velleman 2000: 56–84.

Velleman J.D. (2000). The Possibility of Practical Reason. Clarendon PressOxford.

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Two lives: one a ‘live-fast, die-young’ type of life, and another, more normally distributed life.

  • View in gallery

    Two populations – a dense and short-lived species and a sparse and long-lived species.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 43 43 17
Full Text Views 11 11 8
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0