What are Future Humans Really Owed? Climate Change, Democracy and The Right to Justification




Villagran, Gerardo D.

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University of Guelph


Against traditional meanings of justice (protection of liberty, communitarian obligations and reciprocal cooperation), I argue that recognizing future-persons as political agents is only possible by defining justice as the opposition to arbitrary rule. Following Rainer Forst, I explore an approach to intergenerational justice that is grounded on such meaning. For Forst, the first step toward a just society is the institutionalization of the basic right of all humans to demand reasonable justifications for the multiple powerrelations to which they are subjected. Following this right to justification to its ultimate conclusion, I show that it leads to the notion of a basic human right to democratic advocacy—which, unlike other approaches to advocacy, retains the political agency of future-persons. My conclusion is that creating just intergenerational relations requires little more than existing efforts to secure synchronic transnational justice. I use the UN’s Climate Summit 2014 as case study.



Intergenerational, Justice, Future, Democracy, Rainer Forst, Intergenerational Justice, Right to Justification, Future Generations, Climate Change