Time discounting, consistency, and special obligations: a defence of Robust Temporalism

Global Priorities Institute, Working Papers 2021 (11):1-38 (2021)
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This paper defends the claim that mere temporal proximity always and without exception strengthens certain moral duties, including the duty to save – call this view Robust Temporalism. Although almost all other moral philosophers dismiss Robust Temporalism out of hand, I argue that it is prima facie intuitively plausible, and that it is analogous to a view about special obligations that many philosophers already accept. I also defend Robust Temporalism against several common objections, and I highlight its relevance to a number of practical policy debates, including longtermism. My conclusion is that Robust Temporalism is a moral live option, that deserves to be taken much more seriously in the future.

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Harry R. Lloyd
Yale University


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