Outside Speaker Series: A Tale of Two Time Biases

Dr. Meghan Sullivan (Philosophy Department - University of Notre Dame)

Date & Time:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


MHC 204
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

Suppose you've been in a car accident, you've suffered painful injuries, but you are expected to recover. You intend to ask for compensation for your pain and suffering. Should you ask while you are still in the hospital, suffering from your injuries? Or wait until you have recovered? Recent work in social psychology suggests you are likely to ask for significantly less compensation if your pain has already passed. Perhaps this is unsurprising, since it seems quite natural to discount pains (and pleasures) once they are merely past. It's natural, but is it rational?

Philosophers have been very critical of certain time biases (especially near bias) but surprisingly tolerant of our propensity to discount the past (future bias). In this talk, I will argue that all time biases should be treated as a kind: in particular, either both near bias and future bias are rational or neither are. And I'll discuss some reasons for thinking rational agents are insensitive to how their well-being is scheduled in their lives. The talk is drawn from a book project I am currently finishing--- Time Biases: An Essay on Rational Planning and Personal Persistence.

(aimed at upper level philosophy majors and minors)

All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.