Why and how should we represent future generations in policymaking?

D. Beyleveld, M. Düwell, A. Spahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


This paper analyses the main challenges (particularly those deriving from the non-identity problem and epistemic uncertainty concerning the preferences of future persons) to the idea that we should and can represent future generations in our present policymaking. It argues that these challenges can and should be approached from the perspective of human rights. To this end it introduces and sketches the main features of a human rights framework derived from the moral theory of Alan Gewirth. It indicates how this framework can be grounded philosophically, sketches the main features and open questions of the framework and its grounding, and shows how it can be used to deal with the challenges to the idea that future generations have rights that can be represented in our policymaking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-566
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • human rights
  • future generations
  • political representation
  • non-identity problem
  • Gewirth


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