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  • Cited by 13
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    Pettigrew, Richard 2016. Transformative Experience, by L. A. Paul.. Mind, Vol. 125, Issue. 499, p. 927.

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    Johansson, Jens 2014. Actual and Counterfactual Attitudes: Reply to Brueckner and Fischer. The Journal of Ethics, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 11.

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    Sarch, Alexander F. 2012. Multi-Component Theories of Well-being and Their Structure. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 93, Issue. 4, p. 439.

    Sin, William 2012. Internalization and moral demands. Philosophical Studies, Vol. 157, Issue. 2, p. 163.

    Bruckner, Donald W. 2011. Second-Order Preferences and Instrumental Rationality. Acta Analytica, Vol. 26, Issue. 4, p. 367.

    HUCKFELDT, VAUGHN 2011. Prudence, Commitments and Intertemporal Conflicts. Theoria, Vol. 77, Issue. 1, p. 42.

    Bykvist, Krister 2010. Happiness in a Flux? The Instability Problem. Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 11, Issue. 5, p. 553.

    Dorsey, Dale 2010. Preferences, Welfare, and the Status-Quo Bias. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 88, Issue. 3, p. 535.

    Bruckner, Donald W. 2009. Silent prudence. Philosophical Explorations, Vol. 12, Issue. 3, p. 349.


Prudence for Changing Selves

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 21 August 2006

What is the prudentially right thing to do in situations in which our actions will shape our preferences? Suppose, for instance, that you are considering getting married, and that you know that if you get married, you will prefer being unmarried, and that if you stay unmarried, you will prefer being married. This is the problem I will deal with in this article. I will begin by explaining why preferences matter to prudence. I will then go on to discuss a couple of unsuccessful theories and see what we can learn from their mistakes. One of the most important lessons is that how you would have felt about a life had you never led it is irrelevant to the question of what you prudentially ought to do. My theory takes this into account. What counts is how you feel about a life when you are actually leading it.

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