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Care for one's own future experiences

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Abstract:

We care for our own future experiences. Most of us, trivially, would rather have them pleasurable than painful. When we care for our own future experiences we do so in a way that is different from the way we care for those of others (which is not to say that we necessarily care more about our own experience). Prereflectively, one would think this is because these experiences will be ours and no one else's. But then, of course, we need to explain what it means to say that a future experience will be mine and how knowledge of this fact renders it rational for me to care for this experience in a special way. Indeed most philosophers take this route. But in doing so, they quickly stumble on insuperable problems. I shall argue that the problem of egocentric care, as it is sometimes called, can be solved by turning things upside down: it is much more fruitful to think that the special kind of care we feel for some future experiences (and not others) is part of what makes them ours should they occur. This requires an explanation of egocentric care for future experiences that does not draw in a theory of personal identity, but rather contributes to one. I will attempt to provide this explanation by making use of the idea of a diachronic mental holism.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13869790410001694516

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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