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A rational route to transformative decisions


Villiger, Daniel (2021). A rational route to transformative decisions. Synthese, 199(5-6):14535-14553.

Abstract

According to Paul (Transformative experience, 1st edn, Oxford University Press, 2014), transformative experiences pose a challenge to decision theory since their value cannot be anticipated. Building on Pettigrew’s (in: Lambert, Schwenkler (eds) Becoming someone new: essays on transformative experience, choice, and change, Oxford University Press, pp 100–121, 2020) redescription, this paper presents a new approach to how and when transformative decisions can nevertheless be made rationally. Thanks to fundamental higher-order facts that apply to any kind of experience, an agent always at least knows the general shape of the utility space. This in combination with the knowledge about the non-transformative alternative in the choice set can enable rational decision-making despite the presence of a transformative experience. For example, this paper’s approach provides novel arguments for why gender transition (cf. McKinnon in Res Philosophica 92(2):419–440, 2015) or staying childfree (cf. Barnes in Philos Phenomenol Res 91(3):775–786, 2015) can be rational.

Abstract

According to Paul (Transformative experience, 1st edn, Oxford University Press, 2014), transformative experiences pose a challenge to decision theory since their value cannot be anticipated. Building on Pettigrew’s (in: Lambert, Schwenkler (eds) Becoming someone new: essays on transformative experience, choice, and change, Oxford University Press, pp 100–121, 2020) redescription, this paper presents a new approach to how and when transformative decisions can nevertheless be made rationally. Thanks to fundamental higher-order facts that apply to any kind of experience, an agent always at least knows the general shape of the utility space. This in combination with the knowledge about the non-transformative alternative in the choice set can enable rational decision-making despite the presence of a transformative experience. For example, this paper’s approach provides novel arguments for why gender transition (cf. McKinnon in Res Philosophica 92(2):419–440, 2015) or staying childfree (cf. Barnes in Philos Phenomenol Res 91(3):775–786, 2015) can be rational.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Social Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Social Sciences, Philosophy
Language:English
Date:1 December 2021
Deposited On:09 Dec 2021 13:28
Last Modified:27 Jan 2024 02:44
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0039-7857
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-021-03432-w
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPZ00P1_186151
  • : Project TitleTransformative Experiences
  • : FunderUniversität Zürich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)