ABSTRACT

This chapter addresses the challenge of future people. How can their claims be adequately taken into account in human rights? When asking this, climate change is a leading example throughout the chapter. The chapter aims to develop a first framework for setting priorities among human rights and, in particular, for deciding when future people should get priority and when people presently alive should. Four tasks are central to the chapter: (task 1) providing clarity about which claims initially qualify as matters of human rights; (task 2) devising a general framework for setting priorities among initial human rights claims, which include both claims of present people and claims of future people. This framework consists both of negative considerations (specifying how priorities among human rights should not be set) and positive ones (specifying how they should be set), the latter considering, among other things, the importance of the interests at hand, the number of people involved, and the magnitude of a threat; (task 3) defending a certain way of dealing with uncertainties, particularly uncertainties concerning future threats and protections against them; (task 4) defending what assumptions should be made about the number of future people and what interests they will have.