Prudence and authenticity: Intrapersonal conflicts of value

Philosophical Review 112 (2):215-245 (2003)
Abstract
Prudence and authenticity are sometimes seen as rival virtues. Prudence,as traditionally conceived, is temporally neutral. It attaches no intrinsic significance to the temporal location of benefits or harms within the agent’s life; the prudent agent should be equally concerned about all parts of her life. But people’s values and ideals often change over time, sometimes in predictable ways, as when middle age and parenthood often temporize youthful radicalism or spontaneity with concerns for comfort,security, and predictability. In situations involving diachronic, intrapersonal conflicts of value, prudence—in particular,temporal neutrality—appears to require the agent to subordinate her current ideals to her future ones or at least to moderate pursuit of current ideals in light of future ones. But this demand may seem to sacrifice authenticity, if we suppose that authenticity requires acting on the ideals that the agent reflectively and sincerely accepts at the time of action. This tension between prudence and authenticity raises interesting questions about temporal neutrality, the structure of intrapersonal conflicts of value, the nature of ideals, and the demands of authenticity. After examining various aspects of this puzzle, I defend the commitments of prudence in situations involving intrapersonal value conflict and argue that authenticity—understood as being true to oneself— actually supports temporal neutrality. I conclude by suggesting how this defense of prudence lends credibility to the more general demand of temporal neutrality.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0031-8108  
DOI 10.1215/00318108-112-2-215
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,349
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Against the Tedium of Immortality.Donald W. Bruckner - 2012 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 20 (5):623-644.
Preferences, Welfare, and the Status-Quo Bias.Dale Dorsey - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):535-554.
Silent Prudence.Donald W. Bruckner - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (3):349-364.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Trouble with Prudence.Anthony Simon Laden - 2009 - Philosophical Explorations 12 (1):19 – 40.
Can Morality Do Without Prudence?David Kaspar - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):311-326.
Prudence and Authenticity.David O. Brink - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (2):215 - 245.
Prudence and Justice.Donald W. Bruckner - 2004 - Economics and Philosophy 20 (1):35-63.
The Practices of the Self.Charles E. Larmore - 2010 - University of Chicago Press.
Prospects for Temporal Neutrality.David O. Brink - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
Sincerity and Authenticity.Lionel Trilling - 1973 - Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
120 ( #42,040 of 2,193,597 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #33,631 of 2,193,597 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature