Abstract

This article develops an argument for intergenerational justice within the language of human rights, specifically the human right to a safe environment. After acknowledging the difficulties associated with such an argument, the author presents a new approach rooted in pragmatist philosophy that establishes environmental rights as "emergent human rights." Accepting the validity of such emergent rights carries several beneficial consequences both for the philosophy of human rights and for its practice. First, emergent environmental rights supply a strong argument for justice across generations, because environmental rights logically presume concern for the future. Second, the argument for emergent environmental rights helps to resolve the so-called consensus versus pluralism debate within human rights theory and practice. It does so by positing that all societies can accept environmental human rights, at least for the successor generations of their own societies. Third, environmental human rights presume the continued significance of national sovereignty and citizenship within human rights practice, thereby enhancing the possibility of their acceptance within a culturally diverse world.

[End Page 1346]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 1346-1364
Launched on MUSE
2005-11-10
Open Access
No
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