Chapter

What Matters

Nils Holtug

in Persons, Interests, and Justice

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580170
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580170.003.0004
What Matters

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This chapter addresses the issue of what matters in survival. A test for assessing our beliefs about what matters is developed and it is argued that what matters is Relation M: roughly, the continuous physical realization of (appropriate) psychology. It is then argued that our theory about self‐interest should have Relation M—rather than identity—as its focus. On this basis, the Prudential View is derived, according to which a person has a present self‐interest in a future benefit if and only if she stands in a relation of continuous physical realization of (appropriate) psychology to the beneficiary, where the strength of the self‐interest depends both on the size of the benefit and on the strength of this relation. Finally, a number of objections are considered, including the ‘Repugnant Conclusion about Self‐interest’, which implies that it may be in our self‐interest to divide and have many continuers to which we are weakly M‐related.

Keywords: what matters; Relation M; the prudential view; self‐interest; discounting; repugnant conclusion about self‐interest

Chapter.  19079 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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