What's So Great about Experience?

Res Philosophica 92 (2):371-388 (2015)

Abstract

Suppose that our life choices result in unpredictable experiences, as L.A. Paul has recently argued. What does this mean for the possibility of rational prudential choice? Not as much as Paul thinks. First, what’s valuable about experience is its broadly hedonic quality, and empirical studies suggest we tend to significantly overestimate the impact of our choices in this respect. Second, contrary to what Paul suggests, the value of finding out what an outcome is like for us does not suffice to rationalize life choices, because much more important values are at stake. Third, because these other prudential goods, such as achievement, personal relationships, and meaningfulness, are typically more important than the quality of our experience (which is in any case unlikely to be bad when we achieve non- experiential goods), life choices should be made on what I call a story- regarding rather than experience-regarding basis.

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Author's Profile

Antti Kauppinen
University of Helsinki

References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Transformative Experience.Laurie Ann Paul - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 1863 - Cleveland: Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work

Transformative Choice: Discussion and Replies.L. A. Paul - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):473-545.
Is Pleasure All That is Good About Experience?Willem Deijl - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1-19.
Epistemic Transformation and Rational Choice.Krister Bykvist & H. Orri Stefánsson - 2017 - Economics and Philosophy 33 (1):125-138.
All Animals Are Equal, but Some More Than Others?Huub Brouwer & Willem van der Deijl - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (3):342-357.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

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