Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Rivka Weinberg

Reader 2

Yuval Avnur

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© 2016 Maura A Duffey


The non-identity problem attempts to explain the moral permissibility of certain procreative acts that determine a future individual’s existence. If we accept that this individual’s life is worth living, than we must also accept that these procreative acts are permissible. However, this is not the case. In this paper, I will argue against the permissibility of these acts and explain why our intuition, that these acts are morally wrong, is in fact correct. Because the non-identity problem affects particular persons, those whose existence is brought about, I argue in favor of a solution that explains that moral impermissibility in terms of the wrong done to this particular person. I do so by demonstrating why solutions offered by Derek Parfit, Elizabeth Harman, and Justin McBrayer have failed, whereas solutions offered by James Woodward and Gregory Kavka successfully explain moral impermissibility of non-identity acts in terms of wronging future individuals.