Dear Cambridge philosophers of science,

Tomorrow, 14 February, is the fourth meeting of CamPoS for Lent, as
usual at 1 p.m. in the HPS department in seminar room 2 in the
basement.  Craig Callender of UC San Diego will be speaking on 'Yikes! 
Why Did Past-Me Say He'd Give a Talk on Future Discounting?'  An 
abstract is below.

J. Brian Pitts


That we discount future utility is a behavior studied in work on 
savings, addiction, health, public policy, and more. Is it rational? 
Economists: yes, but only if the rate is exponential. Philosophers: no. 
Psychologists: we judge not, but note that high discount rates are 
associated with poor life outcomes. Pulling these strands together, a 
conventional wisdom has arisen that identifies discounting as a 
cognitive bias. Economics or philosophy supplies a normative standard 
and psychology tells us that we systematically depart from this 
standard. Discounting or non-exponential discounting happens when hot 
fast emotional systems demand immediate gratification, swamping our 
otherwise cool rational temporally neutral systems. My talk aims to 
challenge this conventional wisdom and defend alleged time biases.

J. Brian Pitts
Senior Research Associate
Faculty of Philosophy
University of Cambridge

Ph.D., Philosophy/History & Philosophy of Science, University of Notre 
Ph.D., Physics, University of Texas at Austin

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