Rationality and Time
Parfit (Derek)
Source: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 84 (1983 - 1984), pp. 47-82
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. One theory about rationality is the Self-interest Theory, or S. S claims that what each of us has most reason to do is whatever would be best for himself. And it is irrational for anyone to do what he knows would be worse for himself.
  2. When morality conflicts with self-interest, many people would reject the Self-interest Theory. But most of these people would accept one of the claims that S makes. This is the claim that we should not care less about our further future, simply because it is further in the future. We should not, for example, postpone pains at the foreseen cost of making them much worse. In our concern for our own self-interest, we should give equal weight to all the parts of our future.
  3. In this paper I shall discuss how a Self-interest Theorist should defend this claim.


For the full text, see Parfit - Rationality and Time.

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