Choosing for Changing Selves

ISBN : 9780198814962

Richard Pettigrew
272 Pages
153 x 153 mm
Pub date
Dec 2019
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What we value, like, endorse, want, and prefer changes over the course of our lives, sometimes as a result of decisions we make-such as when we choose to become a parent or move to a new country-and sometimes as a result of forces beyond our control-such as when our political views change as we grow older. This poses a problem for any theory of how we ought to make decisions. Which values and preferences should we appeal to when we are making our decisions? Our current values? Our past ones? Our future ones? Or some amalgamation of all them? But if that, which amalgamation? In Choosing for Changing Selves, Richard Pettigrew presents a theory of rational decision making for agents who recognise that their values will change over time and whose decisions will affect those future times.


Part I: Aggregating Selves
1 The Problem of Choosing for Changing Selves
2 The Economists' Orthodoxy: Expected Utility Theory
3 Existing Solutions I: The Unchanging Utility Solution
4 Existing Solutions II: The Utility of Utility Solution
5 Existing Solutions III: the One True Utility Solution
6 The Aggregate Utility Solution I: Which Attitudes to Aggregate?
7 The Aggregate Utility Solution II: The Solution Itself
8 Can We Compare Utilities Between Different Selves?
9 Why Aggregate Using Weighted Averages?
10 Do We Know Enough to Make Decisions This Way?
Part II: Setting the Weights
11 The Problem of Weighting Changing Selves
12 The Weight of the Past
13 Discounting the Future
14 The Nearer the Dearer
15 I'll be Glad I Did It--So, I'll Do It
16 The Road Ahead

About the author: 

Richard Pettigrew is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol. He has worked in a number of areas: the philosophy of mathematics, with a particular focus on mathematical structuralism; formal epistemology, with a focus on the epistemic utility theory programme; and rational choice theory, investigating risk-sensitive decision theories and transformative choices, in particular. He is the author of Accuracy and the Laws of Credence (Oxford 2016) and the co-editor of The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophical Logic (Bloomsbury 2014, with Leon Horsten).

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