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date: 09 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that deliberation can help support the effective representation of future generations in several ways. First, deliberation can help motivate long-term thinking. If our preferences are shaped by cognitive biases against the future, the demands of deliberation can encourage us to think more carefully about the future. Deliberation also creates pragmatic incentives for political actors to invoke the potential interests of future generations. Second, deliberative democracy (on the large scale) makes it possible for societies to talk to themselves about what they are doing and where they want to go. Third, practices of public reason-giving can help coordinate the actions of non-overlapping generations by providing long-term initiatives with a discursive basis of justification. This can help protect against the time-inconsistency problem and thereby provide incentives for contemporary actors to invest in long-term projects.

Keywords: future generations, deliberation, representation, long-term decisions, cognitive biases, time-inconsistency problem

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