RE: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement

From: Pablo Stafforini (
Date: Thu May 13 2004 - 16:09:31 MDT

Michael Roy Ames said:
> Adhering to volitional morality would seem to require that
> individuals' choices effecting themselves alone to be
> respected.

The choices involved are those of the *individual*, not those of a
particular and arbitrarily chosen individual *temporal phase*. Once the
normative relevance of both present and future choices is acknowledged,
it becomes clear that to prescribe that "individuals’ choices effecting
themselves alone [...] be respected" is not enough. When the
intertemporal preference set is inconsistent, respecting individual
choices becomes impossible. In these cases, one must also provide a
rationale for favoring a preference subset which, by ignoring some
preferences, renders the set consistent, and thus operational.

At t1 Gambler wants to gamble; at t77, though, he wants to pay his
bills. It is simply naïve to say that Gambler must be allowed to gamble
because that's what he wants, for he also wants to pay his bills. As
long as you make the individual the fundamental unit of normative
assessment, you'll have these problems, since individuals are entities
that exist over time (immortality may actually make matters more
complicated, but that's another story).


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