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Justifying Present Partiality to Possible Future People

Justifier d’une partialité présente auprès des peuples à venir
Tim Mulgan

Résumés

Cet article s’interroge sur la manière dont la distinction entre soi et autrui – ainsi que les débats associés sur la partialité, l’altruisme et les exigences d’une morale – peut être amenée à être reformulée dans les différentes configurations de futurs possibles. L’article s’intéresse plus particulièrement aux cas où l’argumentation en faveur d’une partialité présente pourrait être remise en cause.

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Texte intégral

Justification to future people

  • 1 I discuss moderate moral theory in The Demands of Consequentialism, extend it to cover future peopl (...)
  • 2 This list is adapted from Mulgan, ‘Answering to Future People.’

1My broader project asks whether moderate moral theory – where it is sometimes permissible to weigh my own interests, projects, or plans ahead of those of others – can survive into possible futures1 Moderate morality is not relentlessly impartial. However, I also defend five additional constraints that limit the scope of legitimate partiality.2

Impersonal Justification

2Departures from impartiality must be justified. I can only sacrifice the common or aggregate good to pursue my own agenda if this is impersonally justified. Consider two examples:

Rule Utilitarianism

  • 3 Cf. Hooker, Ideal Code, Real World; Mulgan, Future People, chapters 5 and 6; Mulgan, ‘How should ut (...)

3Partiality is justified if (and only if) it would be permitted in my situation under the ideal moral code or outlook, which is (roughly) the code whose internalisation by everyone would produce the best consequences.3

Contractualism

  • 4 Cf. Scanlon, What we owe to each other, Kumar, ‘Defending the moral moderate’. On contractualism an (...)

4Partiality is justified if (and only if) it would be permitted in my situation by a set of moral rules that no one could reasonably reject as a basis for what we owe to each another.4

Second-Personal Justification

  • 5 Darwall The Second-Person Standpoint. For discussion of the relationships between Darwall’s work an (...)

5Ethics has an irreducibly second-personal element.5 If I sacrifice your life (whether for the common good, or to save my own life, or to protect myself from some lesser harm), then I must provide some moral justification that is addressed to you. That justification could be directly impartial (e.g., my need was greater than yours or I maximised aggregate wellbeing) or indirectly impersonal (e.g., I could offer you a rule utilitarian or contractualist story). But my justification might take a different form. Suppose I sacrifice your interests to promote some permissible but optional goal that you also share. This justification wouldn’t satisfy everyone, but our common ground means that I can offer it to you.

Temporal Impartiality

  • 6 Discount rates are especially relevant in debates about the optimal response to climate change. See (...)
  • 7 E.g., Cowen and Parfit ‘Against the social discount rate’. Non-utilitarians may have other reasons (...)

6If we adopt a high pure temporal discount rate, then the fate of distant future people fades into irrelevance.6 But moderate utilitarians cannot set the distant future aside, because a fundamental utilitarian commitment is that well-being matters equally – no matter whose it is or when it occurs.7

Non-Identity is no excuse

  • 8 Parfit Reasons and Persons, chapter 16.
  • 9 Mulgan ‘Answering to Future People’.

7Most decisions affecting the distant future are different people choices where different present actions bring different sets of possible people into existence.8 Parfit’s non-identity problem then threatens to render the demand for justification to future people either incoherent (because we cannot compare existence with non-existence) or trivial (because no one can possibly have any complaint about our actions if her life is worth living and she would not otherwise have existed). I argue elsewhere that non-identity alone does not make future-oriented second-personal justification impossible; that it does not remove the need for such justification; and that future-oriented second-personal justification can reasonably appeal to independently credible person-affecting moral principles even in different people choices.9

Uncertainty is no excuse

  • 10 Mulgan ‘Answering to Future People’.
  • 11 Here I draw on Kumar’s contractualist response to non-identity in ‘Who can be wronged?’ and ‘Wrongi (...)

8I also argue elsewhere that, while uncertainty complicates our obligations to future people, it does not give us a blanket permission to gamble with the lives of others.10 We must still justify any present decision to impose a risk of harm on future people. And we can offer that justification to future people – by imagining specific future people who represent, and complain on behalf of, the much broader class of ‘future people whose world is affected by us’. Indeed, the risk of an undesirable future is imposed on all possible future people. So any future person can complain about our reckless attitude to her.11

9Suppose I do something now such that (a) I promote my own interests; but also (b) my choice is bad for (some) future people; (c) my choice does not promote the common or aggregate good; and (d) the cost to future people exceeds the benefit to myself. In other words: I act partially. I must then provide both impersonal and second-personal justifications. Or perhaps we should say that I only have a plausible impersonal justification if I can also use it to ground an acceptable second-personal justification. Utilitarian partiality is not ruled out, but the case for it must be compelling when offered as a justification to future people.

10Second-personalism only works if the moral perspectives of actor and patient are mutually intelligible. I must understand your complaint and you must understand my defence. To justify my present self-regarding choice to future people in terms that they would accept, I must imagine their ethical views.

11In this paper, I assume a sympathetic future audience who share our basic moral framework. This simplification has three pragmatic rationales. First, we want to respond to distant future people’s reasonable complaints, and we can only start from our own notion of what is reasonable. Second, if one specific future can represent a broader class of possible futures, then it makes sense to select representative future philosophers who are best-suited to interpret our moral defence. Other possible people with different moral outlooks will presumably share similar complaints. Finally, precisely because it makes our task easier, my assumption of a sympathetic audience will render any negative result even more disturbing. If we cannot justify ourselves even to distant future people who share our values, then that is worrying news indeed.

  • 12 This paper was first presented to a workshop on partiality at the Australian Catholic University in (...)

12In the rest of this paper, I briefly explore three possible futures: broken, virtual, and digital. I focus on future people’s views about the distinction between self and other and its significance for broader debates about egoism, altruism, and partiality. 12

Broken Futures

  • 13 Rawls A Theory of Justice, p. 178. A society enjoys favourable conditions when it has the resources (...)
  • 14 I explore the broken world in Ethics for a Broken World, ‘Ethics for Possible Futures’, ‘Mill and t (...)

13In my book Ethics for a Broken World, I imagine a future broken by climate change (or some other disaster), where a chaotic climate makes life precarious, Rawlsian favourable conditions13 no longer apply, and our affluent way of life is no longer an option.14 This is one credible future. No-one can reasonably be confident that it won’t happen. When we seek a future-oriented second-personal justification, we must consider the possibility that future people will inhabit a broken world.

  • 15 Consider versions of naturalistic meta-ethics that identify moral facts with the end-points of proc (...)

14I argue elsewhere that the actual moral outlook of people living in a broken future will differ in several central respects from our current commonsense morality.15 My question here is how they will think about the limits of partiality.

15I begin with shallow disagreements, where future people accept our moral principles but disagree about their application. For instance, suppose I defend myself by claiming that I am exercising a permission to privilege the necessary components of my own worthwhile life. Future people might then (a) agree that I can legitimately privilege my own interests if (but only if) an essential component of a worthwhile human life is at stake, but also (b) reject my claim that what is at stake for me now is essential.

16Future people living in a broken world may have very different views about what is essential to a worthwhile human life. If they have succeeded in forging a stable and enduring human society, it is unlikely they regard their own lives as not worth living. Therefore, their list of essentials will be drawn from items generally available in their own world. Insofar as elements of our affluent lifestyle are not available in a broken world, future people will not regard them as essential.

17Suppose I sacrifice future interests to secure a level of personal healthcare that is unimaginable to future people, or to fly around the world to experience natural wonders that will not survive future climate change, or to extend my lifespan beyond anything future people could hope for. Could I justify these partial choices to future people in a broken world? Can I reasonably insist on elements of well-being that future people themselves cannot hope to enjoy? Can I expect them to accept that some things that would be unimaginable luxuries for them are necessities for me?

18I turn now to three distinctive features of the broken world that might lead to deeper disagreements where future people do not even accept our moral principles.

First Difference: Survival Lotteries

  • 16 ‘Survival lottery’ is a term of art. It may not involve any actual lottery. For instance, a liberta (...)

19In a broken world, scarcity of material resources (especially water) and an unpredictable climate create periodic population bottlenecks where not everyone can survive. (This is what the loss of Rawlsian favourable conditions means.) Broken world societies must therefore institute survival lotteries – bureaucratic procedures that determine who lives and who dies. As no broken world society will endure unless most citizens regard its actual survival lottery as (at least reasonably) just, the central challenge for broken world ethics is to design a just survival lottery.16

Second Difference: The disappearance or reimaging of rights

  • 17 Mulgan Ethics for a Broken World, pp. 56-68, 113-122, 185-197; ‘Replies to Critics’, ‘Theory and In (...)

20Second-personal justification often proceeds by citing rights. I justify my partiality by claiming that I am (simply) exercising my own rights. I might claim rights to use my own property as I choose, to travel, to experience nature, to access healthcare, to stay alive, and so on. But in a broken world, where nothing (not even bare survival) can be guaranteed to everyone, rights must either be abandoned or radically reinvented.17 This is why the broken world is so ethically unsettling. It problematises the very idea that any rights can be guaranteed. People living in a broken future will no longer enjoy even our most basic rights to life or liberty. Their rights will be structured by the just survival lottery. A guarantee of survival might be replaced by a right to participate in deliberation about lottery design, and then a right to a fair chance of obtaining various goods (including survival).

Third Difference: The incoherence of autarkism

21A key figure in modern political philosophy is the autarkic individual who can survive outside society without violating anyone’s rights, and who must therefore be persuaded to join the just polity on her own terms. Political philosophers since John Locke have gone to enormous lengths to appease these recalcitrant individualists, with the result that contemporary theories of justice are skewed in favour of individual autonomy. In a broken world, where no one can survive on her own without taking more than her share of some scarce resource, the very idea of a successful ‘principled anarchist’ is a contradiction in terms. Broken world philosophers thus have no need to cater to libertarian extremists, and their theories of justice will accordingly give less weight to both individual autonomy and to partiality.

22These three differences reinforce one another. Our beliefs about the legitimacy of partiality emerged against the background of favourable conditions where guaranteed survival and autarkic survival are both coherent possibilities. In a survival-lottery-based society, where cooperation is much more central, nothing can be universally guaranteed, and autarkic survival is impossible, philosophers seeking a new reflective equilibrium will attach far less weight to individual projects and/or individual autonomy.

23Take a stark example. Suppose I can reduce the threat of a broken future by sacrificing my life. (The sacrifice might be indirect: perhaps my survival depends on cutting-edge medical treatment or research, but the best available collective environmental policy would require us to remove the necessary resources from the healthcare budget.) Suppose I refuse to sacrifice my life, arguing that moderate moral principles permit me to insist on a guaranteed right to life. If I offer this justification to future people living in a broken future, they will reply that, in their world, there are no such guarantees. An individual can only insist on a right to have her chance of survival determined by a fair lottery. Future people might argue that, in our affluent present, instead of insisting on guaranteed rights, we should institute an intergenerational lottery to spread the burden of avoiding the broken future equitably across the generations. (They could also point out that, by insisting on guaranteed present survival at all costs, we are in effect actually deciding to implement a very unjust intergenerational lottery where all present people draw winning tickets simply because of when we were born!)

Virtual futures

  • 18 The virtual future is based on Nozick’s experience machine (Nozick Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. (...)

24Suppose some not-too-distant future generation must choose between a broken future and a virtual future where people abandon the real world altogether and spend their entire lives plugged into experience machines that perfectly simulate any possible human experience.18 The virtual future seems to offer a perfect escape from the scarcity of a broken world into a world of effectively limitless virtual resources. Unfortunately, things are not so simple.

25The virtual future poses three challenges. One is that it could well lead to a digital future, whose problems we address in section 4. The second challenge is that, while second-personal justification might be irrelevant in a contented solipsist virtual future where each person inhabits her own private virtual world and everyone is content with her lot, it is not irrelevant in second-best interpersonal virtual futures where everyone inhabits the same shared virtual world and people regret the loss of the real world. This matters because the latter is the most likely virtual future, as well as the most ethically interesting.

  • 19 E.g., Finnis Natural Law and Natural Rights, pp. 88, 141-144; Griffin Well-Being, pp. 64-68.

26One site of perennial ethical disagreement is whether interpersonal relations are intrinsically valuable or merely instrumentally useful.19 If friendship is only a means to enjoyment, then a solipsist experience machine that simulates the experience of having friends is perfectly adequate. But many people would regard this as a very poor substitute for real friendship. Stories such as The Matrix and The Truman Show are so unsettling precisely because we regard friendship as an end-in-itself, not merely an in-principle-replaceable means to produce a valuable experience. Any attempt to introduce a solipsist future would meet very widespread resistance. If future people embrace any virtual future, it is thus most likely that it will be an interpersonal one.

  • 20 Nozick 1974, pp. 42-45; Feldman, ‘What we learn from the experience machine’.
  • 21 I argue in ‘Corporate Agency and Possible Futures’ that future people living in a broken world will (...)

27Many non-hedonists worry that some essential component of a flourishing human life is missing in any virtual future. Indeed, Robert Nozick introduced his experience machine thought experiment as a reductio ad absurdum of hedonism.20 If their ‘real-life’ alternative has abundant resources, these non-hedonists will reject all virtual futures. The virtual future is therefore significantly more appealing to people who are already living in a broken world. Such people will regret the loss of valuable connections to reality, but they will regard the interpersonal experience machine as the lesser of two evils.21 If our present partiality places future people in a position where they must choose between broken reality and second-best virtuality, they will reasonably demand a second-personal justification.

28The virtual future therefore does not remove the need for second-personal justification. Like the inhabitants of a broken world, future people inhabiting a virtual world may have different priorities and values from people living in our affluent present. These differences will affect their response to our attempts to justify ourselves to them. In particular, a credible justification for our present partiality cannot cite the importance of our connections to the natural world or anything else relating to our physical embodiment, because future people who are reluctantly living in a virtual world have been forced to leave these things behind.

29A third challenge is that, even if future people live in solipsist experience machines and are perfectly happy with their lot, we might still worry that we have wronged them – precisely by depriving them of the moral resources to object to this morally impoverished existence! (This is why we need both a second-personal justification and an impersonal one.)

  • 22 Parfit Reasons and Persons, pp. 3-4, 493-502; Fletcher ‘A Fresh Start for the Objective-List Theory (...)

30Contemporary debate about well-being contrasts three positions: hedonism (well-being is pleasure and the absence of pain); preference-theory (well-being is getting what you want); and the objective list theory (which offers a list of things that are good in themselves irrespective of the agent’s attitude to them, such as knowledge, achievement, friendship, individuality, self-development, and so on).22 Objectivists argue that neither hedonism nor preference-theory is satisfactory. Some pleasures are good, some are bad, others are neutral. Some preferences improve your life, while others do not. Consider a child who wants to play in the sand rather than go to school. Clearly, we make this child’s life go better if we send them to school. The challenge is to explain why. Education doesn’t simply help people to satisfy their existing preferences. It also teaches them what to desire, and which pleasures to seek. It is important to satisfy people’s desires only because what they value is independently worthwhile. The objects are not valuable because they are desired – they are desired because they are valuable.

  • 23 Mulgan ‘Ethics for Possible Futures’, ‘Answering to Future People’. Even Peter Singer, the most pro (...)

31The objective list theory easily captures both Nozick’s reaction to the experience machine and our reaction to the virtual future. If a connection to the natural world is intrinsically valuable, then human lives go better (and perhaps can only go well) when they instantiate that value. Some things matter, and it matters that people are connected to real values, not virtual ones. A theme of my recent work is that only the objective list theory captures the full range of our obligations to future people.23 The more importance we attach to those obligations, the more serious this comparative advantage becomes.

Digital Futures

  • 24 e.g., Agar, Humanity’s End; Agar, ‘On the prudential irrationality of mind uploading’; Blackford an (...)
  • 25 For a forceful critique of optimistic predictions regarding artificial intelligence, see Floridi, T (...)
  • 26 Cf. Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near.

32Imagine a digital future where flesh-and-blood humans have been replaced by digital beings – intelligent machines and/or digital copies of human brains.24 This is another credible future. No one can reasonably be confident it won’t happen. We should be wary of breathless predictions of the imminent rise of super-intelligent machines.25 But confident pronouncements that artificial intelligence and digital uploading will forever remain engineering impossibilities are equally suspect. Computers continually confound their critics by performing tasks long deemed ‘impossible’: ‘No computer will ever play draughts, or chess, or go; drive a car; recognise a face’, etc.26

33Digital futures could be especially appealing to people whose world is already broken or virtual. Future people already inhabiting a virtual environment might ‘upload’ to a fully digital virtual world, especially if their ‘real-world’ alternative is broken. Or future people might be forced to move directly from a broken future to a digital one. Perhaps only digital beings can survive some catastrophe that will wipe out all biological humans – including those plugged into experience machines. Or perhaps resources are sufficient to upload, store, and ‘run’ billions of minds, but not to preserve a comparable number of brains-in-vats.

  • 27 Hanson, The Age of EM, provides an especially grim vision of a world of relentless economic competi (...)

34The digital future is especially destabilizing for contemporary thinking about the boundaries between individuals. Human beings are fairly easy to individuate. We can count the number of people in a room, a country, or even a possible future. Individuating digital beings is much harder. How do we count programs that can run simultaneously on innumerably many machines, download into robots exploring distant planets, merge to form super-persons, or split into momentarily-enduring discrete entities? Uploaded human minds are almost as fluid. If my brain were scanned, it could then be copied into a million computers or a billion galaxy-exploring robot probes.27

  • 28 On the challenges of recognising the ethical significance of a wide range of artificial entities, s (...)
  • 29 Parfit, Reasons and Persons, Part Three.
  • 30 Parfit, Reasons and Persons, Chapter Fifteen.

35This fragmenting of moral agency makes it much harder to believe that the basic unit of moral thinking must always be the individual person. 28 In digital futures, the boundary between individuals collapses into incoherence. In Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit defended a reductionist account of personal identity, where what ultimate matters are individual experiences and the connections between them, and where there are no further metaphysical facts about the identity of persons across time. Parfit’s reductionism is currently a minority view. In a digital future, however, it could emerge as the only intelligible position.29 As Parfit himself argued, reductionism has very radical implications for the moral significance – or even the coherence – of familiar defences of partiality.30

36Metaphysical disagreement between present and future people could thus lead to disagreement about the separateness of persons – leading in turn to disagreement about the permissibility (or even the coherence) of partiality. Any justification for present partiality must include the claim that I am permitted to act in a way that prioritises my own interests. Future people – or, more neutrally, future inhabitants of digital futures – may either fail to understand this use of the personal pronoun, or refuse to grant it any moral significance. But then any second-personal justification for present partiality is bound to fail.

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Notes

1 I discuss moderate moral theory in The Demands of Consequentialism, extend it to cover future people in Future People, and explore its plausibility in relation to possible futures in Ethics for a Broken World, ‘How should utilitarians think about the future?’, Utilitarian Future Ethics, and Future Worlds.

2 This list is adapted from Mulgan, ‘Answering to Future People.’

3 Cf. Hooker, Ideal Code, Real World; Mulgan, Future People, chapters 5 and 6; Mulgan, ‘How should utilitarians think about the future?’; Mulgan, Utilitarian Future Ethics.

4 Cf. Scanlon, What we owe to each other, Kumar, ‘Defending the moral moderate’. On contractualism and future people, see Kumar, ‘Who can be wronged?’, Kumar, ‘Wronging future people: a contractualist proposal’, Parfit, On What Matters, volume 2, chapter 22, and Mulgan, Future Worlds.

5 Darwall The Second-Person Standpoint. For discussion of the relationships between Darwall’s work and my own, I am grateful to Sophie-Grace Chappell. (Chappell ‘The future-person standpoint’; Mulgan ‘Replies to Critics’.) I apply second-person justification to future people in Mulgan ‘Answering to Future People’.

6 Discount rates are especially relevant in debates about the optimal response to climate change. See, e.g., Broome Climate Matters, pp. 133-155.

7 E.g., Cowen and Parfit ‘Against the social discount rate’. Non-utilitarians may have other reasons to ignore the distant future, if they base justice or morality on reciprocity, actual sentiment, existing relationships, shared projects, or any other connection that is lacking between distant future people and ourselves.

8 Parfit Reasons and Persons, chapter 16.

9 Mulgan ‘Answering to Future People’.

10 Mulgan ‘Answering to Future People’.

11 Here I draw on Kumar’s contractualist response to non-identity in ‘Who can be wronged?’ and ‘Wronging future people: a contractualist proposal’.

12 This paper was first presented to a workshop on partiality at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne in April 2017. I am grateful to Richard Rowland for organising a very enjoyable workshop, and to my fellow workshop participants for very helpful comments.

13 Rawls A Theory of Justice, p. 178. A society enjoys favourable conditions when it has the resources and capacity to simultaneously both meet all basic needs and protect basic liberties.

14 I explore the broken world in Ethics for a Broken World, ‘Ethics for Possible Futures’, ‘Mill and the Broken World’, ‘Theory and Intuition in a broken world’, ‘Utilitarianism for a Broken World’, ‘Answering to Future People’, ‘Theorising about Justice for a Broken World’, ‘How should utilitarians think about the future?’, and ‘Corporate agency and possible futures’.

15 Consider versions of naturalistic meta-ethics that identify moral facts with the end-points of processes of empirical moral inquiry that may turn out to be inextricably linked to an unsustainable way of life (Jackson From Metaphysics to Ethics; Mulgan Purpose in the Universe, chapter two); the many strands of contemporary moral philosophy built on intuitions that are very closely tied to our affluent present (Singer ‘Famine, Affluence and Morality’; Thomson, ‘Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem’; Mulgan ‘Theory and intuition in a broken world’); or theories of rights and distributive justice that implicitly presume a world where the central elements of a worthwhile life can be guaranteed to everyone (Mulgan Ethics for a Broken World, pp. 18-68; ‘Answering to future people’). These familiar ethical ideas must all be re-imagined to fit a broken world.

16 ‘Survival lottery’ is a term of art. It may not involve any actual lottery. For instance, a libertarian survival lottery might simply consist of a collective decision to allow the ‘natural’ distribution of survival-chances to remain uncorrected. However, broken world liberals, egalitarians, or contractualists, who all seek a fair redistribution of the burdens imposed by scarce resources and chaotic climate, probably do need literal lotteries. (For instance, Rawlsians might draw lots to fairly distribute the benefits and burdens of both social cooperation and the natural lottery.) See, especially, Mulgan, ‘Answering to Future People’.

17 Mulgan Ethics for a Broken World, pp. 56-68, 113-122, 185-197; ‘Replies to Critics’, ‘Theory and Intuition in a Broken World’.

18 The virtual future is based on Nozick’s experience machine (Nozick Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. 42-45). I explore its ethical implications in ‘Ethics for Possible Futures’, ‘Theorising about Justice for a Broken World’, and ‘Corporate agency and possible futures’.

19 E.g., Finnis Natural Law and Natural Rights, pp. 88, 141-144; Griffin Well-Being, pp. 64-68.

20 Nozick 1974, pp. 42-45; Feldman, ‘What we learn from the experience machine’.

21 I argue in ‘Corporate Agency and Possible Futures’ that future people living in a broken world will emphasise interpersonal relations and cooperation, and that they will be suspicious of anyone who is too individualistic. These future people are thus especially likely to regard solipsist experience machines as an abandonment of what is most essential to human life, and to insist that any virtual future must be interpersonal.

22 Parfit Reasons and Persons, pp. 3-4, 493-502; Fletcher ‘A Fresh Start for the Objective-List Theory of Well-Being’; Crisp ‘Well-being’.

23 Mulgan ‘Ethics for Possible Futures’, ‘Answering to Future People’. Even Peter Singer, the most prominent contemporary defender of preference utilitarianism, has recently acknowledged, on the basis of very similar examples, that we need a more objective account of well-being to make sense of our obligations to distant future people (Singer Practical Ethics, p. 244).

24 e.g., Agar, Humanity’s End; Agar, ‘On the prudential irrationality of mind uploading’; Blackford and Broderick, Intelligence Unbound; Bostrom, Superintelligence; Hanson, The Age of EM ; Hauskeller, Better Humans?, p. 115-132. I explore the ethical implications of digital futures in Mulgan, ‘Ethics for Possible Futures’, ‘Theorising about Justice for a Broken World’, and ‘Moral Philosophy, Superintelligence, and the Singularity.’

25 For a forceful critique of optimistic predictions regarding artificial intelligence, see Floridi, The Fourth Revolution.

26 Cf. Kurzweil, The Singularity is Near.

27 Hanson, The Age of EM, provides an especially grim vision of a world of relentless economic competition populated by millions of ‘emulations’ copied from a few thousand ‘exceptional’ individuals.

28 On the challenges of recognising the ethical significance of a wide range of artificial entities, see Floridi and Sanders ‘On the morality of artificial agents.’

29 Parfit, Reasons and Persons, Part Three.

30 Parfit, Reasons and Persons, Chapter Fifteen.

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Tim Mulgan, « Justifying Present Partiality to Possible Future People  », Revue d’études benthamiennes [En ligne], 14 | 2018, mis en ligne le 30 décembre 2018, consulté le 18 janvier 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudes-benthamiennes/848 ; DOI : 10.4000/etudes-benthamiennes.848

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Tim Mulgan

Auckland University (New Zealand) and St Andrews University (Great Britain)

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