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
The Journal of Value Inquiry – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 21, 2017
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