Decisions, Diachronic Autonomy, and the Division of Deliberative Labor

Philosophers' Imprint (forthcoming)
1.1 A distinctive feature of our agency is the ability to bind our future conduct by making future-directed decisions. The bond of decisions is not one of mere physical constraint. A decision is not the trigger of some mechanism that takes control of the agent at the future time f and physically forces her to φ. When the agent φ’s out of her past decision to do so, she is in rational control of her conduct at the time of action.1 Decisions appear to have rational authority over the agent’s future conduct. When the time of action comes, the agent is normally guided by no other rational consideration but her past decision. She is guided, not goaded, by it.2 Unlike manipulative forms of distal self-control such as precommitments, decisions do not seem to alter the future situation of choice by introducing features extraneous to the original merits of the case.3 Decisions appear nonetheless to make some kind of difference at the time of action. Were it not so, they would not be effective at influencing future conduct. A successful theory of future-directed decisions must account for the distinctive rational guidance of decisions and show how they can be effective without being manipulative.4 A theory of this kind does not deny that decisions might play a causal role in the agent’s psychology and that their effectiveness is in part a causal matter. But it rejects the suggestion that genuine future-directed decisions operate as mere time-delay devices such as lit-fuses, that is, by way of mechanisms of brute, non-rational..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,386
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

38 ( #50,091 of 1,140,118 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #32,301 of 1,140,118 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.