Property Rights and the Duty to Extend Human Life
This article examines what the author calls the ‘argument from duty’, i.e. the argument that we should recognize private property rights in space because doing so will help us to act upon our duty to ensure the future survival of humanity. More strongly, the motivational impact of recognizing such rights may be required if we are to act upon this duty in an effective manner. The article argues that the duty in question is important but not overriding and that there are other duties with which it may happen to conflict. More specifically, the practical requirements of human resettlement may conflict with our duty to pursue a more just and environmentally sensitive way of living here on Earth. If this is correct, only a significantly weakened argument from duty may be made. The article also strengthens the case for thinking about our duties in the light of other ethical considerations.