Steven Landsburg: esiste una responsabilità verso le generazioni future?

Ottimo esempio che manda nel pallone la cosiddetta etica laica.

… the following question seems to me to be of both supreme importance and supreme difficulty: Do living people have any moral obligation to the trillions of potential people who will never have the opportunity to live unless we conceive them?

The answer is surely either “yes” or “no,” but either answer leads to troubling conclusions. If the answer is “yes,” then it seems to follow that we are morally obliged to have more children than we really want. The unconceived are like prisoners being held in a sort of limbo, unable to break through into the world of the living. If they have rights, then surely we are required to help some of them escape.  

But if the answer is “no”–if we have no obligations to those imprisoned souls–then it seems there can be no moral objection to our trashing Earth, to the point where there will be no future generations. (That’s not to say that we’d necessarily want to trash Earth; we might have selfish reasons for preserving it. I mean to say only that if we ever did want to trash Earth, it would be morally permissible.) If we prevent future generations from being conceived in the first place, and if the unconceived don’t count as moral entities, then our crimes have no victims, so they’re not true crimes.

So if the unconceived have rights, we should massively subsidize population growth; and if they don’t have rights, we should feel free to destroy Earth. Either conclusion is disturbing, but what’s most disturbing of all is that if we reject one, it seems we are forced to accept the other. Perhaps there’s a third way, and that’s just to admit that we’re incapable of being logically rigorous about issues involving the unconceived.

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