The non-identity problem: accounting for future people and animals
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In this thesis I have argued for adopting the de dicto meaning of future individuals in non-identity cases. Although many philosophers adopt de re meaning in the non-identity cases, there is no de re reading available before making an identity-fixing decision, we can only start taking de re individuals into account after conception. Adopting the de dicto meaning is the only way to take the future individuals – people and animals – into account before their identity is fixed while making decisions that will concern them. I have proposed that in situations where there is only the de dicto meaning available and where decision maker has special responsibilities toward de dicto, the de dicto harm might be significant enough to make the decision or action at least morally problematic. To better account for the animal examples introduced by Clare Palmer, I suggested to bring another layer to the non-identity cases and consider harms on the population level where appropriate. While considering harms to population (species or breed) might appear to consider harms to a third party, in procreative context, the individual cannot be viewed as totally separate from the populations they belong to.