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Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 1-14 (2004)

“Future Generations, Self, and Community”
Makoto Usami (Faculty of Law, Chukyo University)

During the last three decades, numerous attempts have been made to justify environmental policy for the sake of future generations. This article reviews major arguments for concern for posterity, distinguishing three stages of the development of study chronologically. It also classifies the arguments by two criteria: principle-based or self-based; binary-relational, trinary-relational, or non-relational. Next, the Aristotelian justification for environmental policy invoking an obligation to appreciate and extend the achievements of past generations and the communitarian one founded on the idea of transgenerational community are closely examined. Finally, the article concludes that a principle-based and trinary-relational theory may be the most promising.