Prudence, Commitments and Intertemporal Conflicts



Typical justifications of prudence are based on the fact that we are temporally extended agents who remain numerically identical over time. After showing that prudential considerations should instead be based on our identity at a particular time, I outline a normative context for prudential reasons, based on a present commitment to temporal neutrality. I then consider how contingency in the content of a present commitment to temporal neutrality provides a flexible context that can help to resolve current debates about whether agents are required to maximize value, maximin value, minimax loss or are required to conform to any of a host of other options on how to adjudicate various types of conflict between present and future values.