Steering Clear of Trouble

Philosophic Exchange 2022 (2022)
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Often we make decisions whose purpose is to reduce the likelihood of our making bad decisions in the future—for example, by turning off my phone to make it more difficult for me to go on Tik Tok during the work day, or staying at home on a Friday instead of going to a party where I know my friends will be drinking to excess. These decisions seem essential, but they raise some philosophical questions. Here is one of them: What is the view that a person takes of her own future when she goes in for this kind of planning? And here is another: How does seeing ourselves as subject to temptation, in the way that this kind of planning presumes, not serve as an invitation to irresolution when tempting situations arise? In this essay, I show how the answers to these questions are mutually illuminating.



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John Schwenkler
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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