On the Survival of Humanity


Frick, Johann. “On the Survival of Humanity”. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47.2-3 (2017): , 47, 2-3, 344-367. Print.


What moral reasons, if any, do we have to ensure the long-term survival of humanity? Most responses in the literature take roughly the following form: We have moral reasons to ensure that humanity survives for as long as possible, because, all things equal, this will maximize the number of worthwhile lives that are lived. This response, however, is difficult to square with a widespread intuition about the morality of procreation, to wit, that while we have strong moral reasons against creating new lives that would foreseeably not be worth living, we have no corresponding moral reason to create new lives just because they would be worth living. In this paper, I explore what resources there are for an alternative account. I argue that we may have moral reasons to care about the long-term survival of humanity because seeking to sustain humanity into the future is an appropriate response to the final value of humanity itself. On this account, the moral reasons we have for ensuring the survival of humanity do not also constitute arguments for creating additional lives in the present.

Last updated on 09/16/2017