The value of risk in transformative experience
MetadataShow full item record
Risk is inherent to many, if not all, transformative decisions. The risk of regret, of turning into a person you presently consider to be morally objectionable, or of value change are all risks of choosing to transform. This aspect of transformative decision-making has thus far been ignored, but carries important consequences to those wishing to defend decision theory from the challenge posed by transformative decision-making. I contend that a problem lies in a common method used to cardinalise utilities – the von Neumann and Morgenstern (vNM) method – which measures an agent's utility function over sure outcomes. I argue that the risks involved in transformative experiences are constitutively valuable, and hence their value cannot be accurately measured by the vNM method. In Section 1, I outline what transformative experiences are and the problem they pose to decision theory. In Section 2, I outline Pettigrew's (2019, Choosing for Changing Selves) decision-theoretic response, and in Section 3, I present the case for thinking that risks can carry value. In Section 4, I argue for the claim that at least some transformative experiences involve constitutive risk. I argue that this causes a problem for decision-theoretic responses within the vNM framework in Section 5.
Randell , P R 2023 , ' The value of risk in transformative experience ' , Episteme , vol. FirstView . https://doi.org/10.1017/epi.2023.53
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.