Workshop: Claims, distributive justice and future generations, 16-18 June 2021

Organised by the Institute for Futures Studies (IFFS)

The literature on distributive justice has in the recent years incorporated the use of claims such that references to individuals’ claims are made to justify certain distributions of benefits and/or burdens. The idea is that actions and outcomes should be evaluated in terms of how well they satisfy different people’s valid claims. There are many reasons to invoke claims in this way in order to evaluate different distributions: individuals have claims and fairness concerns relations between persons (as Broome puts it), focusing on individuals’ claims fit the person-centeredness interpretation of ethics (Darwall), and it provides a way of taking the separateness of persons seriously (Adler). However, the use of claims also raises a series of very consequential questions.

In this workshop, we aim at exploring the following dimensions of claims:

Claims & their relevance: How do claims determine what one ought to do? Should only the strongest claim(s) have implications for what we ought to do, do all claims always have implications for what we ought to do, or is it some subset of the full set of claims that has implications for what we ought to do? 

Their ground:
 Are claims grounded such that the strength of a claim can be determined by looking at some possible outcomes in isolation, by looking at sets of possible outcomes, or by comparing possible outcomes to the status quo?

Population ethics & future generations:
 Do claims from people who are to be caused to exist matter and how do they compare to claims from people who already exist?


Shlomi Segall (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Fiona Woollard (Southampton)

Richard Arneson (UC San Diego)

Matthew Adler (Duke University)

Johan Gustafsson (IFFS, Gothenburg & University of York)

Anders Herlitz (IFFS)

Daniel Ramöller (IFFS & Stockholm)

Michael Otsuka (London School of Economics)

Melinda Roberts (The College of New Jersey)



Download: Workshop schedule (pdf)

For further information, please contact organisers or