Against Time Bias
Date of Issue2015-07
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Most of us display a bias toward the near: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our near future and painful experiences to be in our distant future. We also display a bias toward the future: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our future and painful experiences to be in our past. While philosophers have tended to think that near bias is a rational defect, almost no one finds future bias objectionable. In this essay, we argue that this hybrid position is untenable. We conclude that those who reject near bias should instead endorse complete temporal neutrality.
© 2015 The University of Chicago. This paper was published in Ethics and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of The University of Chicago. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/680910]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.