Decisions, Diachronic Autonomy, and the Division of Deliberative Labor

It is often argued that future-directed decisions are effective at shaping our future conduct because they give rise, at the time of action, to a decisive reason to act as originally decided. In this paper, I argue that standard accounts of decision-based reasons are unsatisfactory. For they focus either on tie-breaking scenarios or cases of self-directed distal manipulation. I argue that future-directed decisions are better understood as tools for the non-manipulative, intrapersonal division of deliberative labor over time. A future-directed decision to ϕ gives rise to a defeasible exclusionary reason to ϕ. This reason is grounded on the default authority that is normally granted to one’s prior self as an “expert” deliberator. I argue that this kind of exclusionary reason is the only one that can account for the effectiveness of future-directed decisions at shaping our diachronic agency without violating our autonomy over time.
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