People who exist today shape the life and conditions of future generations by the decisions they make in their lifetime. If we take this power seriously, we should reflect on what it means morally – should we care about people who do not yet exist, and how?
A large part of the research conducted in this area is philosophical. It involves developing theories of morality and justice to include decisions that affect both the number of people and what people will exist, in a way that feels acceptable to us. These theories are however developed in order to be used in actual decisions, for example those concerning our impact on the climate and local environment, the development of technologies and medicines, and what kinds of research we should promote.
The question of how our decisions affect future generations is present in most of the ongoing research at the institute. Whether the research deals with assessing risks of technological development, the mitigation of violence, discrimination and inequality, or how political decisions should be made – the long-term perspective is present.