Why future-bias isn't rationally evaluable

Res Philosophica 98 (4):573-596 (2021)
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Abstract

Future-bias is preferring some lesser future good to a greater past good because it is in the future, or preferring some greater past pain to some lesser future pain because it is in the past. Most of us think that this bias is rational. I argue that no agents have future-biased preferences that are rationally evaluable—that is, evaluable as rational or irrational. Given certain plausible assumptions about rational evaluability, either we must find a new conception of future-bias that avoids the difficulties I raise, or we must conclude that future-biased preferences are not subject to rational evaluation.

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