Environmental Philosophy, Lecture five

Future generations

Population ethics

Population ethics is a branch of philosophical (normative) ethics. It asks questions such as: “Should we have a large or a small population, and why?” “Should we have children of the child will be unhappy?” These questions look at outcomes of certain situations.

Population ethics is a matter for environmental ethics because humans (and the size of their population) have a large impact on the environment, and we might have a duty to preserve the earth for future generations.

Population ethics is an inherently difficult discipline. This is primarily because of the epistemic uncertainty that comes with predicting the future. Furthermore, population ethics as to keep a close eye on up and coming scientific research.

The repugnant conclusion

Large populations with high quality of life are “worse” than larger populations with lower quality of life.

Note, I wrote relatively little on this section of the lecture. This is because I wrote my practice essay specifically on the repugnant conclusion.