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Yikes! Why did past-me say he'd give a talk on future discounting?

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That we discount future utility is a behaviour 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.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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