3:30pm to 5:30pm
"Temporal Neutrality and the Bias toward the Future"
Abstract: Many philosophers have held that rationality requires one to have an equal concern for all parts of one’s life. In the view of these philosophers, temporal neutrality is a requirement of rationality. Yet Derek Parfit has argued that most of us are not, in fact, temporally neutral. We exhibit a robust bias toward the future. Parfit maintains that this bias is bad for us, and that our lives would go better if we were temporally neutral. Like other neutralists, he also believes that the bias is irrational, however widespread and robust it may be. My lecture will assess these criticisms and offer a qualified defense of the bias toward the future.