How to rationally approach life's transformative experiences

Philosophical Psychology 28 (8):1199-1218 (2015)
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Abstract
In a widely discussed forthcoming article, “What you can't expect when you're expecting,” L. A. Paul challenges culturally and philosophically traditional views about how to rationally make major life-decisions, most specifically the decision of whether to have children. The present paper argues that because major life-decisions are transformative, the only rational way to approach them is to become resilient people: people who do not “over-plan” their lives or expect their lives to play out “according to plan”—people who understand that beyond a certain limit, life cannot be rationally planned and must be accepted as it comes. I show that this focus on resilience—on self-mastery—stands in direct opposition to culturally dominant attitudes toward decision-making, which focus not on the self-mastery but on control and mastery over one's surroundings. In short, I argue that if Paul's general point about transformative experiences is correct, it follows that we rationally ought to adopt a very different approach to life choices, self-development, and the moral education of our children than currently-dominant cultural norms and practices suggest.
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2015
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First archival date: 2014-09-19
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2014-09-19

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