PDC Homepage

Home » Products » Purchase

Res Philosophica

Volume 92, Issue 2, April 2015

Transformative Experiences

Tom Dougherty, Sophie Horowitz, Paulina Sliwa
Pages 301-321
DOI: 10.11612/resphil.2015.92.2.5

Expecting the Unexpected

In an influential paper, L. A. Paul argues that one cannot rationally decide whether to have children. In particular, she argues that such a decision is intractable for standard decision theory. Paul’s central argument in this paper rests on the claim that becoming a parent is “epistemically transformative”—prior to becoming a parent, it is impossible to know what being a parent is like. Paul argues that because parenting is epistemically transformative, one cannot estimate the values of the various outcomes of a decision whether to become a parent. In response, we argue that it is possible to estimate the value of epistemically transformative experiences. Therefore, there is no special difficulty involved in deciding whether to undergo epistemically transformative experiences. Insofar as major life decisions do pose a challenge to decision theory, we suggest that this is because they often involve separate, familiar problems.

Not yet a subscriber? Subscribe here
Already a subscriber? Login here

This document may be purchased

Purchase this article for
$15.00 USD
Enter your confirmation number if you've already purchased this article.