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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 33, Issue 1/2, 2017

A Manifesto For “New Humanities”

Laura García-Portela
Pages 99-112
DOI: 10.5840/ajs201722122

Our Responsibility to Future Generations in the Context of Ecological Crisis
Perspectives and Future Challenges

The present article aims to present how the different philosophical perspectives have tackled the problem of the foundations of our responsibility to future generations in the context of ecological crisis. The main theories addressed here will be Hans Jonas metaphysical foundation, utilitarianism, communitarianism, the rights theory and contractarian perspectives derived from John Rawls’s theory. By assessing these perspectives, I assert that, against jonasianianism and related perspectives, our responsibilities to future generations must be thought of in terms of “political, not metaphysical”. The foundation of these responsibilities must be based, not on God, nor compassion, nor benevolence, nor identity sentiments, but on a conception of ourselves as rational and reasonable persons. From my point of view, we must find our responsibilities to future generations in our respect for their necessities and interests as well as in the maintenance of their available opportunities. This point of view allows us to point out some of our future challenges in the intergenerational justice scope.