Submission deadline: October 15, 2022

Conference date(s):
March 30, 2023 - March 31, 2023

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Conference Venue:

IFILNOVA, NOVA University of Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal

Topic areas



Conveners: Axel Gosseries & Andre Santos Campos


Some of the most important and pressing questions today about justice and contemporary societies are cross-temporal. Intergenerational issues are called to address questions such as what justice requires between different age groups and what responsibilities people today have towards those who will be born in the future. These responsibilities are understood often in terms of rights that future persons have against people in the present. This poses a challenge to the nature of rights in temporally sensitive contexts, especially when weighing rights held by people in the present against rights (that will be) held by people in the future.

This conference aims to focus on the present moral and legal status of substantive rights (as opposed to procedural ones) for future people or future generations. More specifically, we aim to explore various proposals about such rights. Should these rights be the same as those that we currently enjoy? Does the creative interpretation of standard future rights lead to unexpected duties today? Are some standard rights only meaningful as current rights? Do we need to formulate some new rights (or reformulate existing ones) in view of our difficulties in addressing long-term issues? Do future rights interact with present duties in a manner that differs from current rights? Do some types of rights (e.g., negative vs positive, group rights vs individual rights, etc.) have more bite as future rights than others? Can future rights constitute a new (fourth) generation of human rights?

With this in mind, we invite submissions from philosophers, political theorists, legal scholars, and scholars from other relevant disciplines that address these and related questions, divided into two main sections. On the one hand, there are general issues that run across the variety of possible substantive future rights, including some of the questions we just mentioned. On the other hand, we invite papers discussing specific proposals focusing on one or two rights, including:

- The future basic liberties (and what this entails for today)

- The future right to free expression

- The future right to bodily integrity

- The future right to reproduction

- The future right to non-discrimination

- The future right to education

- The future right to culture

- the future right to a cultural heritage

- the future right to health

- The future right to a pension

- The future rights to work and in the workplace

- the future right to a clean environment

- the future right to natural resources

The conference will be both in-person and online to allow for a reduction of its ecological footprint.

Deadline for submission: please send your anonymised abstracts of 300-500 words to [email protected] by 15 October 2022, with the reference “substantive future rights conference”.

It is our goal to envisage a publication for the papers afterwards.

This conference is jointly organised by the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics (UCLouvain) and by the NOVA Institute of Philosophy (IFILNOVA) within the framework of the FCT-funded project “Present Democracy for Future Generations” (PTDC/FER-FIL/6088/2020).

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