Public Deliberation and the Inclusion of Future Generations

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Climate change could be described as an unstructured policy problem, in which we encounter disagreement on facts and values, problem definition, policy aims, procedures and instruments. For the solution of this type of problem public deliberation is often proposed. According to theories of deliberative democracy all those potentially affected by a decision should have the opportunity to participate in the drafting of that decision. However, in the context of climate change many of the potentially affected cannot speak for themselves, because they do not yet exist. Could future generations nevertheless be represented in public deliberations? And if so, who could legitimately represent them? Moreover, how could such representation get shape institutionally within a deliberative democracy? I will examine some obstacles––in particular the non-identity and the pluralism problems––that have to be overcome before future generations can be represented and question how deliberative democracy could deal with these obstacles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-515
JournalJurisprudence: An International Journal of Legal and Political Thought
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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