What Does the Shape of a Life Tell Us About Its Value?

What Does the Shape of a Life Tell Us About Its Value? J Value Inquiry (2017) 51:563–575 DOI 10.1007/s10790-017-9594-9 Christine Vitrano Published online: 21 March 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017 In a recent article in Ethics, Dale Dorsey examines the ‘‘shape of a life hypothesis’’ to see what it implies about the prudential value of a life. As Dorsey defines the shape of a life hypothesis, ‘‘lives are better when they have an upward, rather than downward, slope in terms of momentary well-being.’’ Although Dorsey’s primary aim is to show the only plausible reading of the shape of a life hypothesis does not undermine temporal neutrality or intralife aggregation, he also concludes that the shape of one’s life does tell us something significant about a person’s well-being. The literature on the shape of a life hypothesis is divided over the question of why shape matters. Hedonists provide the most simple, straightforward answer: upward sloping lives are better, because we care about the trajectory of our lives, and are made happier (or experience more pleasure) when our lives get better rather than worse. The hedonist’s response, however, implies that uphill and downhill lives are not hedonically equal, for a person’s awareness of the trajectory her life is taking influences her happiness http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Value Inquiry Springer Journals

What Does the Shape of a Life Tell Us About Its Value?

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Ontology; Ethics; International Political Economy; Public International Law; Philosophy, general
ISSN
0022-5363
eISSN
1573-0492
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10790-017-9594-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

J Value Inquiry (2017) 51:563–575 DOI 10.1007/s10790-017-9594-9 Christine Vitrano Published online: 21 March 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017 In a recent article in Ethics, Dale Dorsey examines the ‘‘shape of a life hypothesis’’ to see what it implies about the prudential value of a life. As Dorsey defines the shape of a life hypothesis, ‘‘lives are better when they have an upward, rather than downward, slope in terms of momentary well-being.’’ Although Dorsey’s primary aim is to show the only plausible reading of the shape of a life hypothesis does not undermine temporal neutrality or intralife aggregation, he also concludes that the shape of one’s life does tell us something significant about a person’s well-being. The literature on the shape of a life hypothesis is divided over the question of why shape matters. Hedonists provide the most simple, straightforward answer: upward sloping lives are better, because we care about the trajectory of our lives, and are made happier (or experience more pleasure) when our lives get better rather than worse. The hedonist’s response, however, implies that uphill and downhill lives are not hedonically equal, for a person’s awareness of the trajectory her life is taking influences her happiness

Journal

The Journal of Value InquirySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 21, 2017

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