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Choosing for Changing Selves

Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2019)

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  1. Why Change Your Beliefs Rather Than Your Desires? Two Puzzles.Olav Benjamin Vassend - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):275-281.
    In standard decision theory, the probability function ought to be updated in light of evidence, but the utility function generally stays fixed. However, there is nothing in the formal theory that prevents one from instead updating the utility function, while keeping the probability function fixed. Moreover, there are good arguments for updating the utilities and not just the probabilities. Hence, the first puzzle is whether there is anything that justifies updating beliefs, but not desires, in light of evidence. The paper (...)
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  • Nudging for Changing Selves.Richard Pettigrew - manuscript
    When is it legitimate for a government to ‘nudge’ its citizens, in the sense described by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (Thaler & Sustein 2008)? In their original work on the topic, Thaler and Sunstein developed the ‘as judged by themselves‘ (or AJBT) test to answer this question (5, Thaler & Sunstein 2008). In a recent paper, L. A. Paul and Sunstein (Paul & Sunstein ms) raised a concern about this test: it often seems to give the wrong answer in (...)
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  • Unchosen Transformative Experiences and the Experience of Agency.Jelena Markovic - 2021 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-17.
    Unchosen transformative experiences—transformative experiences that are imposed upon an agent by external circumstances—present a fundamental problem for agency: how does one act intentionally in circumstances that transform oneself as an agent, and that disrupt one’s core projects, cares, or goals? Drawing from William James’s analysis of conversion and Matthew Ratcliffe’s account of grief, I give a phenomenological analysis of transformative experiences as involving the restructuring of systems of practical meaning. On this analysis, an agent’s experience of the world is structured (...)
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  • Morality as an Evolutionary Exaptation.Marcus Arvan - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 89-109.
    The dominant theory of the evolution of moral cognition across a variety of fields is that moral cognition is a biological adaptation to foster social cooperation. This chapter argues, to the contrary, that moral cognition is likely an evolutionary exaptation: a form of cognition where neurobiological capacities selected for in our evolutionary history for a variety of different reasons—many unrelated to social cooperation—were put to a new, prosocial use after the fact through individual rationality, learning, and the development and transmission (...)
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  • Rational preference in transformative experiences.Saira Khan - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    L. A. Paul’s Transformative Experience makes the claim that many important life decisions are epistemically and personally transformative in a way that does not allow us to assign subjective values to their outcomes. As a result, we cannot use normative decision theory to make such decisions rationally, or when we modify it to do so, decision theory leads us to choose in a way that is in tension with our authenticity. This paper examines Paul’s version of decision theory, and whether (...)
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  • Rational monism and rational pluralism.Jack Spencer - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1769-1800.
    Consequentialists often assume rational monism: the thesis that options are always made rationally permissible by the maximization of the selfsame quantity. This essay argues that consequentialists should reject rational monism and instead accept rational pluralism: the thesis that, on different occasions, options are made rationally permissible by the maximization of different quantities. The essay then develops a systematic form of rational pluralism which, unlike its rivals, is capable of handling both the Newcomb problems that challenge evidential decision theory and the (...)
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  • A Hyper-Relation Characterization of Weak Pseudo-Rationalizability.Rush T. Stewart - 2020 - Journal of Mathematical Psychology 99:1-5.
    I provide a characterization of weakly pseudo-rationalizable choice functions---that is, choice functions rationalizable by a set of acyclic relations---in terms of hyper-relations satisfying certain properties. For those hyper-relations Nehring calls extended preference relations, the central characterizing condition is weaker than (hyper-relation) transitivity but stronger than (hyper-relation) acyclicity. Furthermore, the relevant type of hyper-relation can be represented as the intersection of a certain class of its extensions. These results generalize known, analogous results for path independent choice functions.
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  • Higher-Order Uncertainty.Kevin Dorst - forthcoming - In Mattias Skipper & Asbjørn Steglich Petersen (eds.), Higher-Order Evidence: New Essays.
    You have higher-order uncertainty iff you are uncertain of what opinions you should have. I defend three claims about it. First, the higher-order evidence debate can be helpfully reframed in terms of higher-order uncertainty. The central question becomes how your first- and higher-order opinions should relate—a precise question that can be embedded within a general, tractable framework. Second, this question is nontrivial. Rational higher-order uncertainty is pervasive, and lies at the foundations of the epistemology of disagreement. Third, the answer is (...)
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  • Whose Preferences?L. A. Paul - 2020 - American Journal of Bioethics 20 (8):65-66.
    Volume 20, Issue 8, August 2020, Page 65-66.
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  • The Normative Standard for Future Discounting.Craig Callender - manuscript
    Exponential discounted utility theory provides the normative standard for future discounting as it is employed throughout the social sciences. Tracing the justification for this standard through economics, philosophy and psychology, I’ll make what I believe is the best case one can for it, showing how a non-arbitrariness assumption and a dominance argument together imply that discounting ought to be exponential. Ultimately, however, I don’t find the case compelling, as I believe it is deeply flawed. Non-exponential temporal discounting is often rational–indeed, (...)
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