Justice Back and Forth: Duties to the Past and Future

Justice Back and Forth: Duties to the Past and Future

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Richard Vernon
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016
World Rights
280 Pages
ISBN 9781487500245
Published Oct 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $65.00    $48.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781487510510
Published Nov 2016
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $65.00

Ideas of justice have traditionally focused on what individuals owe to one another and have drawn our attention to what is considered fair – what one of us owes to another is justly matched by what the other owes to them. However, what does justice require us to do for past and future generations?

In Justice Back and Forth, award-winning author Richard Vernon explores the possibility of justice in cases where time makes reciprocity impossible. This “temporal justice” is examined in ten controversial cases including the duty to return historical artifacts, the ethics and politics of parenting, the punishment of historical offences, the right to procreate, and the imposition of constitutions on future citizens. By deftly weaving together discussions on historical redress and justice for future generations, Vernon reveals that these two opposing topics can in fact be used to illuminate each other. In doing so, he concludes that reciprocity can be adapted to serve intergenerational cases.

Richard Vernon is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Political Science at Western University.


Part I: Looking Back

1.  Should We Worry About Presentism?

2. The Question of [Anyone’s] Guilt: Collective Liability to Punishment

3.  For Benefits Received

4.  Giving Back: The Case of Stolen Art

5.  Bad Memories

Part II: Going Forth

6.  The Prior Question: Assessing the Benatar Thesis

7.  Coming to Terms with Yoder

8.  Only Egalitarians May Have Children

9.  If the Future is a Foreign Country…

10.  The Rights of Past and Future Persons


"Richard Vernon draws on a richly eclectic range of sources in this clearly written, sophisticated, and rewarding book."

Daniel Butt, Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University

"Justice Back and Forth contains a number of insightful points and arguments while covering a vast amount of territory. It makes a significant and important contribution to the field."

Timothy Waligore, Department of Economics, History, and Political Science, Pace University