The last of the three 2015 Annual Uehiro Lectures 'Why Worry About Future Generations'. Why should we care about what happens to human beings in the future, after we ourselves are long gone?
The reasons discussed in the previous lecture all depend in one way or another on our existing values and attachments and our conservative disposition to preserve and sustain the things that we value. The idea that our reasons for caring about the fate of future generations depend on an essentially conservative disposition may seem surprising or even paradoxical. In this lecture, I explore this conservative disposition further, explaining why it strongly supports a concern for the survival and flourishing of our successors, and comparing it to the form of conservatism defended by G.A. Cohen. I consider the question whether this kind of conservatism involves a form of irrational temporal bias and how it fits within the context of the more general relations between our attitudes toward time and our attitudes toward value.