Chance and the Dissipation of our Acts’ Effects

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):334-348 (2021)
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ABSTRACT If the future is highly sensitive to the past, then many of our acts have long-term consequences whose significance well exceeds that of their foreseeable short-term consequences. According to an influential argument by James Lenman, we should think that the future is highly sensitive to acts that affect people’s identities. However, given the assumption that chancy events are ubiquitous, the effects that our acts have are likely to dissipate over a short span of time. The sets of possible futures left open by alternative acts are typically very similar in the same way that large random samples drawn from the same population are typically very similar.

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Derek Shiller
Princeton University (PhD)


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