How Much Do We Discount Past Pleasures?

American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (4):367-376 (2022)
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Abstract

Future-biased individuals systematically prefer pleasures to be in the future and pains to be in the past. Empirical research shows that negative future-bias is robust: people prefer more past pain to less future pain. Is positive future-bias robust or fragile? Do people only prefer pleasures to be located in the future, compared to the past, when those pleasures are of equal value, or do they continue to prefer that pleasures be located in the future even when past pleasures outweigh future ones? Some arguments against the rationality of future-bias require positive future-bias to be robust, while others require it to be fragile. We empirically investigate and show that positive future-bias is robust.

Author Profiles

Andrew James Latham
Aarhus University
Kristie Miller
University of Sydney
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