The good of today depends not on the good of tomorrow: a constraint on theories of well-being

Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2365-2380 (2020)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
This article addresses three questions about well-being. First, is well-being future-sensitive? I.e., can present well-being depend on future events? Second, is well-being recursively dependent? I.e., can present well-being depend on itself? Third, can present and future well-being be interdependent? The third question combines the first two, in the sense that a yes to it is equivalent to yeses to both the first and second. To do justice to the diverse ways we contemplate well-being, I consider our thought and discourse about well-being in three domains: everyday conversation, social science, and philosophy. This article’s main conclusion is that we must answer the third question with no. Present and future well-being cannot be interdependent. The reason, in short, is that a theory of well-being that countenances both future-sensitivity and recursive dependence would have us understand a person’s well-being at a time as so intricately tied to her well-being at other times that it would not make sense to consider her well-being an aspect of her state at particular times. It follows that we must reject either future-sensitivity or recursive dependence. I ultimately suggest, especially in light of arguments based on assumptions of empirical research on well-being, that the balance of reasons favors rejecting future-sensitivity.
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
KINTGO-18
Upload history
Archival date: 2019-06-17
View other versions
Added to PP
2019-06-14

Downloads
164 (#42,227)

6 months
15 (#49,289)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?