Prudence, Sunk Costs, and the Temporally Extended Self

Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (6):658-681 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Many find it reasonable to take our past actions into account when making choices for the future. In this paper, I address two important issues regarding taking past investments into account in prudential deliberation. The first is the charge that doing so commits the fallacy of honoring sunk costs. I argue that while it is indeed irrational to care about sunk costs, past investments are not sunk costs when we can change their teleological significance, roughly their contribution to our excellence as temporally extended, reasons-responsive, and goal-directed agents. I suggest some general principles for evaluating such significance. Second, it’s a live issue whether we should care about the fate of our past projects, even if we can now affect it. I reject Dale Dorsey’s recent answer, and argue that the puzzle he addresses turns out to be merely apparent, if we take seriously the fact that we are temporally extended.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-02-19
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
421 ( #16,234 of 65,513 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
76 ( #9,551 of 65,513 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.