Bias towards the future

Philosophy Compass 17 (8):e12859 (2022)
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All else being equal, most of us typically prefer to have positive experiences in the future rather than the past and negative experiences in the past rather than the future. Recent empirical evidence tends not only to support the idea that people have these preferences, but further, that people tend to prefer more painful experiences in their past rather than fewer in their future (and mutatis mutandis for pleasant experiences). Are such preferences rationally permissible, or are they, as time-neutralists contend, rationally impermissible? And what is it that grounds their having the normative status that they do have? We consider two sorts of arguments regarding the normative status of future-biased preferences. The first appeals to the supposed arbitrariness of these preferences, and the second appeals to their upshot. We evaluate these arguments in light of the recent empirical research on future-bias.

Author Profiles

Kristie Miller
University of Sydney
Andrew James Latham
Aarhus University
Hannah Tierney
University of California, Davis
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